Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Relax, Relapse

Do you remember that band Panic at the Disco? Yeah me neither…ok I went through a phase where I listened to them every day. Sure, I didn’t know what most of the songs were even talking about at the time, but now I do and it’s crazy how random things trigger memories of songs that lead to titles of posts.

We’re friends, so I trust you. I have to tell you why it’s been so hard to blog lately (or blog and then not even post it on Facebook because I don’t really want anyone to read it), if you haven’t figured it out by now that is. I had a pretty rough last year. Not as bad as what other people go through, but certainly not great. I had to rely on God ALL the time. I had to pray EVERY DAY. I would cry on a regular basis for the state I was in. And through all that, God gave me all these wonderful opportunities to get away. To move to Australia, to work, to be in Texas, I knew it was a Godsend. I prayed that I would do what God wanted me to do in these places. I prayed that I would be a light to the people that I met and lived and worked with. That I embody the fruits of the spirit and that people would know on whose side I stood.

As you know, it went downhill as soon as I left school basically. It wasn’t that I was necessarily doing anything wrong, but I wasn’t doing anything right. I wasn’t even trying. When I left Arkansas, I left everything that I had learned and felt and I was free. Kind of. My life was perfect, so I had nothing to lean on God for. I was walking on my own and I chose to not walk away, but to just stand up on my own.

So over the course of the past 10 months I just lived. I met new people. I made lots of new friends. I got crazy over a boy and then got over it. I traveled. I loved. I ate. I adventured. I was free.

At a lot of times on this journey I’ve stopped and thought about God and the fact that I was no longer letting Him carry me. And then I changed the subject in mind because of the amount of guilt I had feeling like I had let Him down. I couldn’t tell to you about what I was doing or up to, because it wasn’t anything that pertained to my purpose. I felt like I had been given all this under the pretense that I would do great things with my opportunity, and I didn’t. I couldn’t tell you and let you down. So I didn’t tell you anything. I knew I couldn’t keep it from God, but instead of facing it and asking Him what to do next, I just avoided Him. I didn’t look for signs because I didn’t want to see His disappointment in them. I didn’t want a lecture about how I messed up this opportunity. I felt like I had been given $10 for charity and instead I spent it on whatever I could get myself.

I started blogging recently about nothings. They were rambles and a mere attempt to get back into it. I focused on the soapbox that I could stand on, because it’s easy for me to talk about what I believe in. It’s not nearly as easy to look in the mirror and tell myself to give up doing this on my own.

This weekend I was in Dallas and I went to church on Sunday with Danae. This was the first time in almost a year that we had been able to do so, and almost six months since I had last seen her. It was great! Of course. I walked into the church (late, sorry), and I knew she was singing in the choir so I just started looking for her onstage. It took me a while to decide which one she was. Not only does she look entirely different than when I saw her last, she was super passionate while singing up there. It was strange because I’ve never seen someone I know so well like that. Someone I care about so much, and want the absolute best for to exemplify something I want. Or I know I wanted at some point. I’m not sure what I want right now.

As the afternoon went on I got to know her cousin and her story and talking to Danae about how far she’s come and I was just overwhelmed. I told them that what I had been struggling with was knowing I was a disappointment but wanting to come back. I’ve just been so afraid that it was too late. Or maybe that I didn’t even really want to change. Or that I would mess up again. That this would make me a hypocrite. That eventually I’d use up all my get out of jail free cards and maybe it would be best to continue to not be perfect until I knew, without any hesitation I could do it. I couldn’t decide in the moment, so I thought I’d just wait it out. Despite the urge I had to tell you about my afternoon.

Last night I went for a swim. Try not to laugh. Yes, I’ve missed being in the water, and I know it’s a great workout so I gave it a shot and I’m terrible, but I’ll stick with it. All the lanes were full last night, so I asked a girl if I could share hers and she graciously complied. She obviously knew what she was doing and while I wanted to ask for help, I just kept to myself and continued to struggle. Then she started talking to me. I don’t remember how the conversation started, but I can tell you how it ended. She said something and eventually I asked for advice on breathing and she helped me and gave me some tips and was really helpful. She told me about when she started and the difficulties she had and it’s a lot like what I’ve been going through. She finished her swim and left and I stayed a while longer. When I went to pick up my things, I saw that she had left me a note. It said “You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.” Philippians 4:13 with her name and number. Now I know what you’re thinking, why would she do that? We didn’t talk about hanging out or go into depth about our lives. I certainly didn’t spill my guts about my struggles. And somehow you can’t look at this and not see it as a sign. Divine intervention. Sure, she was talking about swimming but when I read the verse, a verse we’ve all heard so many times, it struck a different chord.

I think that God was not only telling me that if I wanted to do this, I would need Him, but that it was ok. At church I had asked Him to just meet me where I am. I didn’t ask anything else, because like I said, I don’t even know what I want. That’s what He did. I didn’t ask for a sign and I didn’t specifically ask for forgiveness, but God met me where I was and just told me it was going to be ok. I realized that while I thought I was standing on my own, I wasn’t. As hard as I was pushing and kicking and trying to be on my own, I was never far from His grip because He knew that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. He knew I would fail. He knew I wouldn’t be perfect. And He knew I would be here eventually. But looking back on the past 10 months, I know for a fact it could have been worse.

So this is what I want you to take from this…

I make mistakes and I am a big screw up. And just because I don’t say it out loud or tell you, doesn’t mean God already didn’t know. He also knew that when I was ready for Him to meet me where I was, He would be there. I know that God’s strength comes with limitations or conditions, so I’m not sure why it was hard for me to accept the forgiveness He had already promised me. I don’t think that just because I’ve messed up, He’ll deny what I need. I can do it. With His help. I can mess up and come back and He’ll still be there with all the same promises as before. The same goes for you. Where ever you are. Whatever you’ve done. Where ever you stand, He’ll meet you where you are when you ask. You can do it. With His help. And He’ll do big things without being asked.

Relax; don’t be so hard on yourself. Throughout our lives I think that we will constantly be relapsing back and forth. Some mistakes will be really big and alter everything, others will be easy to recover from, but relapsing to sin is to be expected. Luckily, we always have the choice to relapse back into God, we just have to make some notion to let Him know.

I love you, and I’m human and am limited to human love. God loves you too, and He’s not limited at all.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Where Am I Going Now?

Hello there. It’s me. Just me.
Nothing particularly interesting has happened lately and everything all at the same time. In the past week I’ve been disappointed, and excited. I’ve changed my mind. I’ve made decisions. I’ve been frustrated and then refreshed. I’ve felt really good about my life and then really not good. All in one week!
I haven’t been blogging much lately. I know why. Kind of. But I’ll tell you all about that some other time. Right now is just about this past week.
I realize that no matter where I stand in respect to God, He’s still there. I don’t know why. I’ve never known why and I never know how things will turn out.
Part of what I love about having a blog, is that I know I can tell you anything. Because I tell you the big things, it’s easier to see what role these big events had in my life and helping me get to where I am.
The point is I can only see it, because I have proof of emotion and events written in my own words. No matter how dramatic they tend to be, I understand myself. And I know where I am now and how things in my past have shaped me. I’ll never know if it’s what God had in mind, but I like to think that it is. So because I know where the big things have gotten me (in my own opinion), I want to try to keep better track of all the little things too.
So here’s a quick update on the past week and plans I’ve made lately…

One big thing is that I am being interviewed on Friday for an internship! Or co-op, I’m not sure if they’ve decided, so I left it open. On the one hand, I’m really excited. I don’t remember applying, but I did. And it’s for a manufacturing company I wouldn’t initially think to work at, but we’ll see where it goes. On the other hand, I’m really nervous. This isn’t a company where I know someone. I don’t know anyone who has ever worked here before and I will be the only student from a non-Texas school. I don’t think I’ve ever been so intimidated in my life and somehow I have to cover that up and show that I’m qualified for this. I’ll keep you updated.
My sister is officially 40 weeks on Thursday. I’m fine. I swear I’m excited for him to be here. I still feel like I’m losing her, but only time will tell the distance. Until then, I am still excited for him to get here already.
I have this big trip to New York planned for December to see some friends I made in Australia. I decided to lessen my trip by coming home early. Nox will be here and I don’t want to give up time with him and my sister and family before school starts again. It’s not ideal to pay to move things around, but that’s what I get for making rash decisions. In accordance with this trip, I’ve decided to start the trip with another trip. To Chicago! I’m excited. And nervous. In equal amounts.
My mom officially lives in Texas again. It’s strange because neither of us has lived here since my dad died and now, all of a sudden, it’s bringing back loads of strange feelings. Not exactly natural, yet familiar. Thinking about him still makes me want to cry. I’ll work through it I’m sure.
Eastman is a struggle. I like it alright. I like all the projects I’m working on, I’m just not sure it’s for me. People are friendly and helpful but I’m not sure this is somewhere I could be long term. I’m not sure if this is where I really see myself. Something about this doesn’t feel right. In other work news, there’s big stuff going on this week so we’re working 12 hour shifts, 5:30 to 5:30. I’m not a fan of getting to work when it’s dark and leaving work when it’s almost dark. I know this will soon be the case everyday because of the time change and it will just be interesting to see what changes.

Well, I’m pretty sure that’s it. Some of this may be completely meaningless. It could all honestly be meaningless, but maybe it’s not. And it’s the maybe that will keep me wondering and hopeful. I’m not sure where I’m going next, but I want you to be there with me. I’ll be there for you in return.

I love you.

Monday, October 3, 2011

But I'm the Baby.

Whaaaat? 2 blogs within a 4 week time...it's sheer madness.

Well this is just more of a funny story to tell you just how ridiculous I am. I hope you laugh.

My sister is my best friend. She's 11 years older than I am which means that when I was little, she was old enough for me to idolize. Sometimes people would point out pictures of her to me and I'd say that it was me. When I was in first grade I vividly remember getting in trouble for writing her name down on my paper instead of my own. My sister has the most beautiful curly hair, so I used to sleep in rollers so that my hair could look like hers, it never did. I started dance lessons because I remember her costumes. There are videos of tiny me dancing and singing and being ridiculous because my sister would tell me to. I remember my sister teaching me to tell time. To drive. She told me a joke about having "kid knees." I remember that after she'd drop me off, I'd cry because just loved her so much. Pure love :)

As I grew up, she became very influential in developing this sense of learning. From taking me to zoos to the Science Place and museums, that's where it all started. Why I want to see and experience the world. She's not only the reason I love it, but the reason I know that I can. That I can do anything I set my mind to. She's inspiring.

I don't remember a lot about when my dad died or the time around then. I know that it took the same toll on her that it did me. Maybe worse in different ways. What I do know, is that when I decided to ask questions, I could turn to her. I could cry. We could both cry. We could be completely silent on two ends of phones, states and an ocean apart, and having a full conversation.

When my sister was getting married, I was nothing but excited. I never thought twice about what it meant for us, which is good, because it didn't change anything about us at all. We're best friends. We get mad at each other. She tells me I use too many exclamation points, I tell secrets I'm not supposed to (still to be debated). But I love her more than anything. I would do anything for her and give her anything I could, and I know that she would do the same for me.

My sister is within 2 weeks of having a baby.

I have been so excited for 8 1/2 months about Lennox Patrick Luttrell joining this family and the ridiculousness that is our relationship. I've loved him and been excited and prayed for him since I knew he'd be around. but last week it hit me. My sister, my best friend was about to be someones mom.

I'm not sure why I didn't think about this sooner, but I was sitting at work and I panicked and I just started crying.

Seriously?! I couldn't wait 15 more minutes to leave work to burst into tears over the most childish moment of my post teenage years?

But there it was. Maybe the most selfish I've felt in a long time. Maybe it's just because it's fresh on my mind.

She's not going to be mine. She can't be my best friend. Even though she won't be working, she won't be able to text me as much. What if I need her? What if she's the only one that'll understand?

What if she likes the baby more than me.

My whole life, I've been the youngest. I never had to share. I never had to fight for attention. I was automatically the favorite because I was the only one around. I've always been the baby.

At this point, you may be laughing. Which is good. I'm very dramatic. While this is how I felt, I worded it so that hopefully you'd find humor in my predicament. Onward....

So I realized I had this terrible older child syndrome. Not really because he won't be my little brother, but I am equally being dethroned. It sucks.

I'm not sure how this will play out. Certainly, you can say, "oh, she'll always be your sister" "she still loves you very much" "blahblahblah," but things will be different. It has to be. That's life. It's what makes us adaptable, change.

Well, I thought talking about it would make me feel better, but it didn't. I am still the most selfish person I know I right now. I am also still torn, because I am super pumped to have a little person that I can hopefully be as important to as my sister has been for me.

Nox, if you ever read this, I really do love you. I am excited for you. I can't wait to meet you and hold you and teach you everything I know.

This isn't Facebook worthy. It's terribly written. There's no hopeful message. There's really no lesson learned. Yet.

I guess that's where we part ways. One day I'll look back on this and it'll help me get through something else. I'm being prepared, I just don't know why or for what or when I'll need this, but I know that day is coming.

I love you too, you know. And I hope that you love me. Even when I'm dramatic and selfish.