faithful

This Wednesday I will have lived half of my life without my mom in my life. Thursday and every other day that precedes will be days where I have lived more without my mom than with her. And you know what? That sucks. It sucks that from such a young age I was abandoned and mistreated by most influential caregiver a child should ever receive. It would make sense to be bitter and hate my mom, for so many of these ten years, deep down, I think I did. But as I grow and learn how to love people like my Father does, the less important resentment and bitterness and hatred becomes in my heart. Love has taken its place. Yesterday I found out my mom had similar symptoms to a stroke, but the doctors seemingly ruled out stroke and said its likely she has a brain tumor, but she needed a MRI to confirm. All of a sudden, I realized at this rate, the next time I see my mom could very well be at her funeral. But, I don’t want that. I don’t want the next time I see my mom in person to be at her deathbed, but I also don’t think I’m ready to see her now. Will I ever be ready though? More overwhelming thoughts fill my mind—death, funerals, cancer, brain tumor, surgery, chemo, illness, faithfulness. I choose to fixate on the latter. Faithfulness. He who has promised IS faithful, not WAS… He IS faithful. He has been faithful, and He will be faithful, and right now in this moment He IS faithful, even when I can’t seem to grasp the reality of what is at stake. And I choose to focus on that. I think of it like this, if the Lord was a surgeon (yes, He is a healer but let’s think of it in this analogy), this isn’t His first day on the job, this isn’t His first solo surgery. He has been practicing far longer than I have even been alive, and his success rate is 100%. If there was a doctor on this side of Heaven with stats like that, you best bet I’d fly all the way across the country to be seen by him. It’s not much different with the Lord. Because He is faithful and has never not been. He has been at this whole God thing much longer than I have been alive. His success rate can’t even be quantified because He is that big and intentional. We don’t have to travel to across the world to be seen by Him, because He sees us, right now, wherever we’re at, and is already at work in our present circumstances, proving Himself to be faithful… time and time again. And right now, all I have to cling to is the steadfastness of the Truth—He is faithful forevermore. He is for me. He is even for my mom. And whatever the doctor the doctors say, He is still faithful then.

Amen, amen, amen.

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exquisite mercy

Exquisite Mercy. This is the name of a chapter in a She Reads Truth Book (if you don’t know what She Reads Truth is, let alone their book, Google it, the book Holding Tight to Permanent changed me). However, this chapter continues to challenge me every time I pray. The chapter revolves around Jesus in the garden before going to the cross. “Abba, Father! All things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will” (Mark 14:36). Jesus, knowing the weight of what He was about to endure, prayed this prayer in full submission—not my will but Yours be done. The weight of that statement continues to challenge me and mildly terrify me in my own prayer life. What would it look like for you to fully submit to the will of God? Odds are, you’ll never endure death on a cross since Jesus took your place, however, this year, the odds of you enduring hardship is very likely (Sorry to rain on your parade). So, the question isn’t “if” you will endure hardship, but rather “when” you endure hardship,

“He gave us permission to ask to be relieved of our burden and sorrows… The Father did not take the cup of suffering from Him. The suffering came—just moments after Jesus’ prayer, Scripture says, ‘The hour [was] at hand’ (Matthew 26:45) An act of mercy. Only this mercy wasn’t for the object of the suffering; it was for you and me. It was our mercy. Our exquisite mercy. Because Jesus said yes in the garden—and only because of this—we can say yes to whatever we find in our own cups. Severe or spectacular, we can drink in obedience knowing the only One with the authority to put anything in our cup is the Father Himself. And just as He has the power to fill our cups with bitter and sweet things, He also has the power to take them away if we ask. He invites us to ask.”

I pray this season is a ‘sweet’ thing that fills your cup, but I also pray when the bitter things come, you pray boldly to a God who is more than capable of taking those things from your cup. However, if those things still remain in your cup, most of all, I pray you’re able to say, “not my will but Yours be done” and press in to see His faithfulness because He is good, and He is faithful even when the cup is bitter, my friend.

summer learnin’

I feel like I write my best posts in the midst of heartache and painful growth, however, this post isn’t inspired from my internal lack, rather my internal abundance. I find myself only processing in the midst of hard things and today I decided to process in the midst of good things, because I haven’t done that enough lately. So, here we are, I’m currently on staff at a camp called Barefoot Republic in Kentucky! I’ve never been to a camp quite like Barefoot or even heard about the intermingling of so many different students’ lives in one location before working at camp. In a very intentional effort to portray the Gospel, Barefoot brings kids from so many different lifestyle walks dealing with socioeconomic statuses, ethnicity, race, different religions, denominational affiliations, and geographic differences together on one campground for one week to seek to prove there is unity in variety. You see, I’m learning a lot about diversity and how it’s more than seeing things through a black and white lens. Diversity isn’t being colorblind and being in the presence of people who don’t share the same hue of skin you do. It’s more than just differences, but rather embracing similarities. I’m excited to continue experiencing the various aspects and lives that camp brings together and what each week will teach me.

Before I went to camp, I was home for about 3ish weeks and the transition from my college dorm-life in Cleveland, TN is quite a jump from living with my parents in good ole Harrison, OH. It was so weird to go to sleep in my own room in my own bed… alone, without my roommate. I missed our late night conversations and random quotings of Vines, and singing Beyonce lyrics. I was back in Complacent Town, population me. It’s hard going from living with your very best friends and saying see ya later for 3 months. But throughout my transition back to life at home, I’ve learned to find joy in being alone and thriving in the silence. Living with so many people, I always felt so inclined to spend the majority of my time with my friends and meeting new people, almost feeling guilty when I didn’t. First off, our fast-paced culture that screams quantity over quality sucks and I hate feeling guilty for having regular self-care habits and taking time for myself, to some would be seen as unproductive. But this contentment with rediscovering the joy of being Heather apart from a group has been refreshing and has also helped me find joy in my small town. Living in a suburb of Cincinnati is so fun!! There is so much to do if you’re looking for adventure, or just to relax in a local coffee shop. Being home has continually affirmed me during this stage of my life that I made the right decision in leaving Harrison and Ohio in general to experience the world from a new perspective. Life in the south is slow and intentional, friendly and warm. Which is much more of a contrast from the brisk, fast-paced, let me squeeze right past ya and avoid eye contact confines of the north, that’s for sure.

My greatest lesson I think I will learn and continue to learn this summer and into next school year is boundaries. After realizing I don’t have boundaries I took it upon myself to be very intentional with my words, relationships, mannerisms, my tIME!!!!!, etc. because ultimately a lack of boundaries reflects a lack of respect for myself and the people in my life. So, to counterbalance my lack with an abundance, I took a few steps back and figured out where I lacked boundaries and where I could implement them, overall I think I’m much more happier because FOMO isn’t getting the best of me, and then as a result putting me in an unfavorable situation that negatively affects me in other ways such as my performance and other relationships. Boundaries aren’t always fun, but I think I’m learning that they’re worth the effort.

It’s been nice to just relax and find new ways to rest, reflect, and refocus, and also work.

Here’s to more learning, probably more iced coffee with coconut almond milk, and lifetime’s worth of memories—

 

He is faithful.

afio mai

It’s hard to mourn the death of something that’s still living. It’s hard to grieve the absence of someone when life continues at full speed ahead when the rest of your world is spinning all around you. It’s hard to depend on other people to fill voids others have left in you when you feel incapable to fill the void, let alone allow God to mend you whole. It’s hard, my friend. The road is full of curves and bumps, inclines and declines. And right now, I feel like I’m on a decline heading for a plateau of complacency. It’s hard to feel things so deeply. It’s hard to love others so dearly. Good-byes are hard, transitions are painful, and the changing of seasons makes me nostalgic.

For nearly 10 years I have seen everything through the eyes of abandonment: When will the next person leave? When will they decide I’m not good enough? Why am I so easy to walk away from? Am I too much for people? Is that why they leave? Why do I feel so defective compared to all of the people I’m friends with? Why can’t I trust people? These questions have haunted me for far too long. These lies have manifested themselves into the reality of my being, this war raging has become my actuality. How do I escape? Where do I go from here? I’m not sure.

All I know for sure is this abandoned-filled eyed girl wants to take these lenses off and see beauty and possibility, hope and not destruction. I also know the Lord promises peace. Peace that I don’t have to strive after or be good enough to receive. Peace that overcomes my marred vision, peace that abounds and makes a way to restore my vision to original clarity.

Afio Mai, a Samoan phrase means welcome or to come and right now I am welcoming the Prince of Peace to come rest awhile with my heavy-burdened soul. I hope wherever you are right now you can see that same peace meeting you right where you are as well, my friend.

 

Afio mai Agaga Paia

Holy Spirit come-

clean

What does it mean to be clean? I’m still uncertain on how to directly answer this ambiguous question, as well as distinguish what living a “clean” life looks like. But one thing I am learning is I am in fact, clean; I’m not tarnished nor soiled, discounted or fragmented. The decisions that were made for me, the words that were spoken at me, the lies I believed for far too long, I believed, ruined me. But when the loving countenance of Jesus looks at this prodigal daughter, he still calls me beloved—not seeing the stained lies that have made their home in my mind, he declares over me that I am his daughter who he knows how to love well, and in his eyes these dirty rags are purified, I am white as snow. What love does that? The love of a father whose love knows no bounds, a love that is not blind to my faults and failures but fully aware of them.

My sweet Jesus, aware of the walls I’ve built, the lies weighing me down, prepared me for a moment of pure vulnerability. He sweetly declared the blood running through my veins may biologically come from my mom, but it is his blood that has sustained my life. It is his blood that runs through my veins. It is his blood that makes me clean. There is no questioning this genetic makeup because I am my Jesus’ and my Jesus is mine. The instability of mental illness no longer has its grasp on my joy, but the stability of freedom found in Jesus does.

 

02/01/18

transfiguration

Jesus, take this heart and all its wounds; its tiny fragments of where it has been torn and reconcile it back to your heart. You have taken me back to where it all began: all the striving, lies, and inability to trust– here I am, Lord. Not yet arrived, processing; I am broken, I am torn, I am scarred.

Give me your eyes to see myself in Your light, not in the light of rejection and abandonment, but in grace and worthiness.

The people around me are not my mom, I am not my mom, but my mom is my mom and I think I resent her for all she has done. Help me to move from a place of resentment; harboring un-forgiveness and shame to a place of freedom and newly discovered self-worth. Help me to reflect you well, while not negating or invalidating what I feel.

Let me fill my voids with you, let my peace come from you, let my gaze be on you,

Only You can satisfy, only You can provide,

teach my heart to desire more of you.

Here’s to transfiguration–

 

 

striving

striving // christ for the nations

“There is no striving
There is no striving in your love
Freely you have given
Freely you have given to us
You have made us yours
You have called us daughters and sons
This is who you are
This is what your love has done
You have given everything my heart could ever need
And all you ask is I believe
And I am resting safe inside your promise to provide
And nothing could ever change your love
Your love for me, your love for me

You never ask that I earn Your affection
I could never earn something that’s free
I never have to fight for Your attention
Because Your eyes are ever upon me
You never ask that I earn your affection
I could never earn something that’s free
I never have to fight for your attention
Because your eyes are ever upon me”