Today was my first day of work and I’m so thankful for the transition. So much happened in June. I counted down the days until June 12th, I woke up in my own bed on June 13th, and spent 18 days trying to rest and feel like myself again. I needed those eighteen days to rest, to sleep in, to go to Pure Barre almost five times a week, to refuel. I had learned how to take control and thrive in my college environment, but I had lost feeling like myself in the process. I don’t know the cause and I think in this scenario it’s okay I don’t know why, but I’ve been living in confident hope and abundant grace.

Yesterday I could not stop thinking about how I had not done enough with my eighteen days. I thought of how I needed to read more, or go on more adventures, bake or cook more than spaghetti sauce from scratch and so many other things in between. But those days were filled with rest, grace and freedom that I so desperately needed. I poured myself out to empty in Santa Clara and I needed those days to fill me back up again. I needed to let go of the expectations I had for myself and adjust back to life at home. I filled those days to the best of my ability and I don’t regret it. I loved Pike Place, Macrina, Hello Robin, The Walrus & the Carpenter, walking to the Highlands beach, walking the Highlands with Cali, John and Thor, attending SING Worship Night at Bethany, spending time with my family, Pure Barre and EvolutionFresh smoothies, and a lot of downtime. I’m learning and doing as much as I can with what I’ve been given, as patiently as possible, to feel like myself again.

I’m not quite there yet as I find myself lacking a driving force or motive to what I’m doing. But right now I don’t feel alive and joyful every second of every day. I’m choosing in the midst of feeling a bit numb and less fully alive than I’ve felt before to fill myself with the things that do make me come alive. I needed work today, and will for the next two months, to show me how gratifying learning is after feeling defeated by it again and again this past school year. There is satisfaction and joy found in a hard job well-done. I need the interaction that I find all day in the kind people I work with who make me laugh and smile more than I have since I left school. These conversations with people that aren’t my family are so good for me. I may not know what exactly I need to be doing right now, but I’m taking what I’ve been given and squeezing as much grace out of it as possible. 

Today alone I found time in God’s Word before going to work by waking up at 6am. I felt satisfied in learning new tasks at work. I found time to read at lunch outside with blue skies and sunshine all around me. I drove home in the best mood I’ve had since I was at school—it was time for the long afternoons at home doing nothing to go and my days to be more structured. I feel value in the time that I have outside of work to fill it with the things that matter. Not countless minutes scrolling Instagram, but intentional choices to go to book it to Pure Barre after work or see friends. I may not have been ready to start working again last night, but I’m so thankful that it’s been just what I needed. I’m going back to something and an environment I know and that is just what I need in this season. God is so good. 

I don’t want to forget the peace I felt leaving the last student mass on Sunday evening or how good it felt to get a picture with Emily at my last PB class for the year, no matter how silly I felt doing it. I don’t want to forget how I’m clinging to Isaiah 55:12; how it feels like it’s been the prayer for my freshman year and how I’m covered, heart, body, and soul, in peace and joy for this season/in this transition.

For they shall go out in joy and be sent forth in peace. 

The frame with that verse may no longer be on my walls, but it’s engraved in my heart and I’m thankful. Isaiah 55 was a chapter I kept returning to again and again this year and I love, love, love those words. But something about verse twelve fits the seasons and transitions of my life. Whether it be the first transition in leaving high school, or the next big one in moving to another state for college, or in going back home after being here for 33 weeks, that verse is a prayer I prayed. I prayed to go out content and joyful, walking into whatever new phase I’m in with peace. Peace that is so hard to describe, but so clearly from the Lord. A gift of joy and peace is such a beautiful combination. 

So as I prepare to take my second to last final in the morning, I’m recognizing the joy and peace around me. The peace I feel in saying goodbye because the fall will be here before we know it and the joy I feel in having these wonderful people as friends. The joy I feel as I tidy up and begin to pack up my dorm room because it’s all going to be fine and there’s plenty of time to get it all done (and it’s all going to fit in the storage unit :) . Peace that I felt so clearly as I left mass on Sunday and as I walked away from my CNI final allowing me to rejoice that I’m done, that I did it and how good it all is. As I say goodbye to friends, I can’t believe I won’t see some of them until 2015 and I also can’t believe it’s really happening; it still just doesn’t feel real. But I’m savoring up all these goodbyes, dinners and lunches by being present because the moments I’m given are a beautiful reflection of how well I’ve lived this year. And that, my friends, is the biggest blessing.

I keep waiting for the oh my gosh this is ending feeling and it hasn’t hit me yet. I think my heart and body are so worn down from ten weeks of giving nothing but my all to my classes that I don’t have room to feel that. My head needs to stay in the game of focusing on those things I have to get done because I fear that if I take my eye off of them, they won’t get done at all. But somehow I need to feel grateful and savor these last few ten days of my first year of college; when I make my focus my first year of college instead of these last ten days, something shifts. I barely even feel a difference between fall me and spring me, but I think that’s because most of the growth happened over fall quarter and I haven’t had much space to reflect on it between winter and spring. One thing I know for sure is that I feel much more capable. I can say no, I can say yes, and I can be brave. Right now it’s too soon to have my reflective glasses on because I’m just too in the thick of it. So I’m choosing to sink into Emily Freeman’s words from A Million Little Ways:
"The sweetness…gets lost in the busy, and it’s only here at the end where we pause long enough to realize how heavy they are with grace and blessing."
I pray I’ll take the time to pause, and overwhelm myself with the graces and blessings that will feel so far away and distant in ten days.

I keep waiting for the oh my gosh this is ending feeling and it hasn’t hit me yet. I think my heart and body are so worn down from ten weeks of giving nothing but my all to my classes that I don’t have room to feel that. My head needs to stay in the game of focusing on those things I have to get done because I fear that if I take my eye off of them, they won’t get done at all. But somehow I need to feel grateful and savor these last few ten days of my first year of college; when I make my focus my first year of college instead of these last ten days, something shifts. I barely even feel a difference between fall me and spring me, but I think that’s because most of the growth happened over fall quarter and I haven’t had much space to reflect on it between winter and spring. One thing I know for sure is that I feel much more capable. I can say no, I can say yes, and I can be brave. Right now it’s too soon to have my reflective glasses on because I’m just too in the thick of it. So I’m choosing to sink into Emily Freeman’s words from A Million Little Ways:

"The sweetness…gets lost in the busy, and it’s only here at the end where we pause long enough to realize how heavy they are with grace and blessing."

I pray I’ll take the time to pause, and overwhelm myself with the graces and blessings that will feel so far away and distant in ten days.

Being able to go back through my posts must be the best gift I could have given myself through my first year of college. I’m so grateful to have these words, this thoughts and my heart wide open. Reading through old posts tonight reminds me why I love to do it in the first place. I love to write, I love to reflect, I love the clarity the combination provides, and I love the way that hopefully it makes someone feel that they aren’t alone or inspires them. That’s my purpose in sharing these words instead of hiding them. As I read through my posts, I realized a common theme that I would start with a verse and share my heart from there. So, here we go.
"Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart." -Nehemiah 2:2
Do you ever find verses that you know you just need to hear? This one was for me tonight. I realize how HARD it is to live the grace that God gives us. I realize how far I’ve distanced myself from the freedom I had with my relationship with God as I tried to protect it while away from home. All of this creeped up on me and none of it was purposeful, but here I am. Sad when I’m not sick form a sadness of heart. 
Usually I have words. Usually I can start somewhere and then my heart just starts flowing into words. Lately? Nothing. I feel hard and cold, I feel like dry ground that has seeds that just can’t make it above the surface. I’ve gotten so scared of what those around me might think of me being me, in a way that I don’t even realize, that it’s effected my heart. I guarded my heart from the people around my I’m scared to let in and in the end I guarded my heart from Him. This isn’t where I want to be. I don’t want to be home for the weekend, loving it, but finding myself with hours to spare not knowing what to fill them with. I don’t want it to be hard to open the Bible, but that seems like the hardest and least fulfilling thing sometimes most of the time. I went to church this morning, loving being there, loving the songs, loved the message, but then we didn’t wrap up with a song. We all just left. I’m clinging to THINGS so much when I need to be clinging to Him. But I really just don’t know how.
Oh, Lord. I pray that you would break open my heart to show me how to live through this season. I pray that you would overwhelm my heart with love and grace to guide me back to who I was. I pray that I would stop focusing on all the wrong things (finding a church, missing Bethany, wanting to be done with this quarter, wanting to be home, etc.) and help me focus on You. I pray that I would find Scripture to read my heart as I read your words. I pray that it would open the doors for me to talk to you, to pray my heart out to you, to dream and hope like I haven’t before. I pray for you to show me what lights my heart on fire again. I pray for the reminder that even though I feel so confused that you are the clarity, constant and refreshment. I needed the reminder this morning at church that it’s not about me being filled up and feeling good, but about Your glory. Make that come alive to me, Lord, and bless the next twenty-four hours I have home. Take my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above. Amen. 

Being able to go back through my posts must be the best gift I could have given myself through my first year of college. I’m so grateful to have these words, this thoughts and my heart wide open. Reading through old posts tonight reminds me why I love to do it in the first place. I love to write, I love to reflect, I love the clarity the combination provides, and I love the way that hopefully it makes someone feel that they aren’t alone or inspires them. That’s my purpose in sharing these words instead of hiding them. As I read through my posts, I realized a common theme that I would start with a verse and share my heart from there. So, here we go.

"Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart." -Nehemiah 2:2

Do you ever find verses that you know you just need to hear? This one was for me tonight. I realize how HARD it is to live the grace that God gives us. I realize how far I’ve distanced myself from the freedom I had with my relationship with God as I tried to protect it while away from home. All of this creeped up on me and none of it was purposeful, but here I am. Sad when I’m not sick form a sadness of heart. 

Usually I have words. Usually I can start somewhere and then my heart just starts flowing into words. Lately? Nothing. I feel hard and cold, I feel like dry ground that has seeds that just can’t make it above the surface. I’ve gotten so scared of what those around me might think of me being me, in a way that I don’t even realize, that it’s effected my heart. I guarded my heart from the people around my I’m scared to let in and in the end I guarded my heart from Him. This isn’t where I want to be. I don’t want to be home for the weekend, loving it, but finding myself with hours to spare not knowing what to fill them with. I don’t want it to be hard to open the Bible, but that seems like the hardest and least fulfilling thing sometimes most of the time. I went to church this morning, loving being there, loving the songs, loved the message, but then we didn’t wrap up with a song. We all just left. I’m clinging to THINGS so much when I need to be clinging to Him. But I really just don’t know how.

Oh, Lord. I pray that you would break open my heart to show me how to live through this season. I pray that you would overwhelm my heart with love and grace to guide me back to who I was. I pray that I would stop focusing on all the wrong things (finding a church, missing Bethany, wanting to be done with this quarter, wanting to be home, etc.) and help me focus on You. I pray that I would find Scripture to read my heart as I read your words. I pray that it would open the doors for me to talk to you, to pray my heart out to you, to dream and hope like I haven’t before. I pray for you to show me what lights my heart on fire again. I pray for the reminder that even though I feel so confused that you are the clarity, constant and refreshment. I needed the reminder this morning at church that it’s not about me being filled up and feeling good, but about Your glory. Make that come alive to me, Lord, and bless the next twenty-four hours I have home. Take my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above. Amen. 

I can’t believe it’s week 7 of my last quarter of freshman year. I can’t believe that friends that I graduated with last year this month are already home. I can’t believe how many times my heart has broken open in new relationships with friends as I go deeper and deeper with them. I just could never have imagined I’d be where I am today on September 21st when this all started. I’m not done yet, but this week has been great compared to last week. Last week, three midterms and two essays took everything out of me. I was unmotivated. I didn’t want to study. I didn’t want to get grades back that ended in a 9, that meant I was so close but just not quite there yet.

But God is good. He is always here and doesn’t leave us where we are. He moves in us and is all around us. He moved and on Sunday I was blessed. I tried a new church that was so, so not for me and I remembered why I sit in the back when trying a new church. This one wasn’t for me. But then I came back to my room and live streamed a Bethany sermon and everything shifted. There were words being spoken that I needed to hear so desperately. Words that reminded me what His grace really looks like and how I became unanchored this quarter without even realizing. I tried to write my CNI essay all day, which just ended more horribly than it did good, but I did it. I did it after mass. Mass just hit my heart. I needed every word and the homily had me in tears. Jesus was alive and real inside of me. That service cracked me open and made me whole again in Him; I was back to myself again finally.

This quarter the usual things that felt right and would cheer me up have felt wrong and have been disappointing. I went to the CBTL after trying the new church on Sunday and just was left with too much caffeine and sugar in my system. But getting outside to write has been wonderful. Just getting out of my room and mixing it up has been so needed. Going to Starbucks after class MWF has been a small treat that makes my day. It reminds me that the little things don’t always stay constant and it’s time to change. But most of all it reminds me that comfortable people don’t need a comforter. My Lord, my God, my Savior, is my comforter. I’m finally leaning into who He is and what that means for me in this season. 

It means letting go and holding my palms up, hands wide open. It means waiting for summer to come so expectantly while also soaking up every moment I have left here. This year, once I hit finals week, is going to feel like a blink of an eye. Right now, the days and weeks are long, but I know that the years are short. It’s not easy and it can feel so, so hard, but at the end of the day He equipped me and I’ve made it this far. I can finish strong.

On Thursday May 8th I did the splits.

On Thursday May 8th I did the splits.

Oh Lord thank you for today. What a beautiful and good day that started with me not wanting to get out of bed to me wishing I could sing at the top of my lungs “All The People Said Amen” in my dorm room. God is so good. He brings us close when we need it, reminds us to stay faithful and hope. I’ve clung to these words that I listened to as I live streamed Bethany yesterday, “We live in this Good Friday world, but we are Easter people.” Amen, right?

This week feels like it could easily be all Good Friday. It’s a week with three midterms, a quiz, a 2-3 page essay and a huge homework assignment. But I actively chose this morning to let Bob Goff’s reminder of Jesus’ words to change the way I lived: be not afraid. So today, I didn’t fear my CNI midterm. I just did. I started. And I took that midterm and it felt good. Then I worked on my OMIS homework and walked to the rose garden with Lindsey before getting dinner.

Holy cow, this. day.

I got the best news that I just jumped up and down with Lindsay while we were walking and I am just so, so, so excited for next year. Oh, friends. God is good. He answers prayers. He moves. He brings you friends that walk to beautiful places like the rose garden, that remind you and get as fired up about love does as you do. He brings you a mariachi band and churros and ice cream. He brings you sunshine and fresh air and music that lights your heart on fire. Walk through the crummy, cootie filled weekends sweet girl and find God’s grace redeeming every bit of it on the other side. 

Today I had dinner with a friend from home, we got ice cream afterwards, and it was a beautiful day. I chatted with my suite-mates about a relationship of theirs and it just felt like love does. I start overthinking what love does and what that looks like. I think I need to think about it a bit less and a) let whimsy take over and b) just let it happen. I need to be available and there needs to be room for love to do. 

I’m bringing back morning pages. I’m taking time to write because I’ve stopped and it will bring me back to life. This quarter hasn’t been easy and I’m grateful for months ending because they’re a wake up call. This month I want more walks with friends and this month? It’s the good month. It’s the month where my schedule feels like mine and I’m doing it. Writing with Greys on in the background isn’t the best, but right now life looks like a lot of Greys and authenticity. It’s me doing my best and stop worrying. Or at least trying not to.

Source.
I keep thinking of all the things I’ll do when I have my own home, when I’m a mom and have babies running around and when I’ve set solid roots in a real community. But when I write off all the things I can do when I have those things, like hosting people in my home and having an idea of what my days would look like and longing for them, I miss what I can be doing today. I miss the fact that even though hospitality in my dorm room may not look like inviting everyone over, that I can still be real and authentic and love other people where they are. As I wish for the days of being back in Seattle, of attending and investing all of myself in a community at Bethany, I miss the ways that I can be investing in the people in front of me right now. The reason I don’t do it all now is because it’s hard, and even though I may realize this, a lot of the people around me don’t see it. They don’t see the fierce way we can love each other if we use our words positively to speak life into each other instead of talking about other people, putting them down and complaining like it’s a part of our job description as a college student. When I say this, I’m talking to myself because I use it as my excuse. That I can’t live hospitality because I don’t have the physical space. Not true. I have a whole college campus to explore and to make my own. I don’t need the perfect room or tons of time to invest in people and know how to love them well. I need to work on and learn how to love people and meet them right where they are. How can I show those around me love when we’re all so busy? How can I stop and make people feel like they are enough, that they are wonderfully made, and still be genuine and honest and real with them? How can I invest and tend to roots at a new church in Santa Clara when I can’t get there or don’t even have a church that feels like home? None of this is easy, but coming home reminds me that it’s possible and that it’s about the little things. To meet people right where they are, whether that be in life or in their faith walk, I have to meet myself where I am and simply walk with them. Most of the time this doesn’t look like anything grand, but other times it looks like prioritizing my time to make sure I have the margin to invest in people. I think those around me deserve it, I think that I can do a better job and I don’t think it’s too late to start now. (Inspiration: here and here)

Source.

I keep thinking of all the things I’ll do when I have my own home, when I’m a mom and have babies running around and when I’ve set solid roots in a real community. But when I write off all the things I can do when I have those things, like hosting people in my home and having an idea of what my days would look like and longing for them, I miss what I can be doing today. I miss the fact that even though hospitality in my dorm room may not look like inviting everyone over, that I can still be real and authentic and love other people where they are. As I wish for the days of being back in Seattle, of attending and investing all of myself in a community at Bethany, I miss the ways that I can be investing in the people in front of me right now. The reason I don’t do it all now is because it’s hard, and even though I may realize this, a lot of the people around me don’t see it. They don’t see the fierce way we can love each other if we use our words positively to speak life into each other instead of talking about other people, putting them down and complaining like it’s a part of our job description as a college student. When I say this, I’m talking to myself because I use it as my excuse. That I can’t live hospitality because I don’t have the physical space. Not true. I have a whole college campus to explore and to make my own. I don’t need the perfect room or tons of time to invest in people and know how to love them well. I need to work on and learn how to love people and meet them right where they are. How can I show those around me love when we’re all so busy? How can I stop and make people feel like they are enough, that they are wonderfully made, and still be genuine and honest and real with them? How can I invest and tend to roots at a new church in Santa Clara when I can’t get there or don’t even have a church that feels like home? None of this is easy, but coming home reminds me that it’s possible and that it’s about the little things. To meet people right where they are, whether that be in life or in their faith walk, I have to meet myself where I am and simply walk with them. Most of the time this doesn’t look like anything grand, but other times it looks like prioritizing my time to make sure I have the margin to invest in people. I think those around me deserve it, I think that I can do a better job and I don’t think it’s too late to start now. (Inspiration: here and here)

This quarter has been up and down, all around, over the place. The first week was a rough week. It was hard being back, I didn’t want to be back and my schedule was a fight to get it the way I wanted (but I did! Hooray!). Then last week was the first normal week, I watched for rhythms and saw where I’m going to need to be mighty fierce in making time for quiet time but also open to how the Lord wills my day in the afternoon. Week three is the beginning of this quarter truly having a life and story of its own. I know my classes, I’m starting to know the people in these classes and I’m making things happen. The work has started, the drafts of essays were due today and today’s reading quiz was now my third. This isn’t all so new anymore and it’s starting to feel intimately mine. 

From this space I’m still learning what works and what doesn’t. It took me until the end of week three for winter quarter to feel good and I have to make sure I’m not jumping the gun. I have to keep holding myself to a standard of grace instead of perfection, but the perfection is easier. The perfection is what everyone else is doing, it’s what looks right in the black and white world when I’m surrounded by gray. The grace? That requires time in Scripture, that requires wholeheartedness, that requires not being perfect, that requires compassion for myself and it is gray as gray as gray. 

I started reading The Language of Flowers at the end of last week and I’m loving it. I love having a book that makes me want to stay up until 11:30pm reading instead of getting an extra half hour of sleep. I love that I am giving myself the grace to take the extra half hour and love it. To use that time to remember I need to have a bit more fun, which seminar reminded me was okay to last weekend. I don’t have to be “on” all the time, I just need to be authentic. And that’s hard because it’s always changing. I may say that today authentic looks like x, and then tomorrow it will be flipped on it’s head and spun around 180 degrees. 

I’m beginning to realize that nothing is as constant or controllable as I wish it would be. I can’t control my schedule, my days or all the little things. I can influence them with self-discipline and a plan, but most of it is out of my hands. This is ringing so many bells as one of my goals was the year to live prayerfully so that I would know that I was walking where the Lord wanted me to be. But the thing is, prayer isn’t an ask-and-answer situation. Prayer nourishes the intimate relationship that I want to have with Jesus. And putting that all together means that I have to walk by faith a lot more than I’ll walk in certainty, but it’s okay. It’s okay because the goal is still to know Jesus, to anchor myself to God and build an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit that is alive within me. 

And here we are at Holy Week leading up to Easter, my favorite day of the year. This is my holiday; I love it more than Christmas and my birthday. Sunday changes everything for me; it’s life to the full, it’s purpose, it’s hope, it’s patience, it’s everything I’ll ever need. Usually the anticipation to this incredible day has me bursting with joy, but this week I’ve felt half-here due to the 6 hours of sleep I got on Sunday night due to bad planning. But how I’m feeling goes beyond how much sleep I got this weekend, it tracks back to Lent for me. I knew that I didn’t have a clear piece of my life that I needed to change in preparation for Easter, I just simply wanted to prepare my heart. At the beginning of Lent, that looked like giving up Facebook again for good (it worked so well for me last year, I’m not sure why I let it back in), taking two weeks off Instagram and spending time in Scripture daily. That’s exactly what I needed to do to tend to my heart. But over spring break and the new quarter, what my heart needs has changed. My heart is a huge gray area that is always changing and never constant. I have to adjust my expectations to match what I’m dealing with, so I’m not concerned at how those things might have changed over 40 days. God moved in me over Lent and my heart has swayed away and has anchored itself back.

I didn’t have 40 days of consistency. I had review week, then finals week, then spring break in two states, then I started a new quarter. A lot happened between Ash Wednesday and today and I’m giving myself the necessary grace that I deserve throughout all of this. It’s not easy and I’m thankful for my journal, for my rhythms of sleep, for fighting for quiet time on a daily basis, for fighting for intimacy even when I’d lost the point. It’s hard and these 40 days haven’t been easy; they have been up and down and all around. But I keep coming back to the One that knows my heart, who goes before me and prepares for me. I want to be a girl with a plan, ready and willing to move when He says so. I’m not there yet and the best is yet to come and that is so much hope. Hope that anchors, hope that is stronger than anything, hope that never loses faith. Hope is all I really needed.