“He loves us no matter what…”

“Authentic communication is a sign that our relationship with [God] is genuine and close. God wants us to be real with him, not hide our feelings or dress them up in sparkly talk. When we show God our wounds, we show him we feel our wounds are safe in his presence. They become the bridge to an even closer relationship. When we quit hiding them, we discover he loves us not in spite of our messy feelings but because of them. He loves us no matter what, and our relationship is strengthened by honest communication.” – Kristen Strong, Girl Meets Change

 

Currently, situations in my life are reminding me again — roughly and bluntly — of what my weaknesses are. These difficult things have been thrown over my shoulders like a heavy quilt, dragging along the floor and pulling me back and off-center.

To my shame, I’m realizing that with these old and new challenges, I’ve fallen back into my default coping habits: 1) trying to rely on myself to figure it out and endure it, or 2) looking toward friends or family for validation, empathy, and understanding. As well-intentioned as both strategies are, there’s an inherent flaw to both of them. Neither is fully satisfying or complete; neither fills my soul or helps me feel understood; neither can give peace to my restlessness. And oh, do I go through cycles of restlessness, aimed at my inabilities and failings.

Maybe you’re like me and find yourself struggling internally. Maybe you’re an over-thinker like I am. Maybe you’re finding your life circumstances a little overwhelming right now. Maybe you’re like me and try not to burden others with your problems. Maybe when you do finally open up to friends and family, you hope they’ll say something inspiring to help the weight feel lighter. I know I do. Yet as much as I want them to understand — inevitably, they won’t. And it’s not their fault; those expectations do not belong to them.

I implore you — instead, look to the One who perfectly understands those wounds, understands those longings, and understands that fluctuating emptiness. Instead of wrestling to hide your struggles and keep them out of sight, lay them bare to the One who sees them for all that they are and all that we ourselves cannot perceive. Cry out to the only One worthy of being called out to — and stop trying to use your family and friends a substitutes.

This week, I’m trying not to hide. This week, I’m seeking my Heavenly Father.

I’m grateful He’s using this restlessness to pull me closer to Him. I know I don’t deserve any kind of close relationship with Him, and I know I would not come to Him on my own if He wasn’t prompting me. It’s all His doing, and I’ll praise Him for His undeserved love for me.

Authentic communication, established and maintained by God. What a true blessing this is!

Advertisements

Long-distance on Mother’s Day

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” –Washington Irving


Words can’t fully express how much I miss this beautiful woman.

God has blessed me with and an incredible mother and one of my dearest friends. Lord knows I wouldn’t be able to live abroad in Japan and doing all that I am without her continual love and support. Continue reading

“Truth is, I’ll never know all there is to know about…”

“Truth is, I’ll never know all there is to know about you just as you will never know all there is to know about me. Humans are by nature too complicated to be understood fully. So, we can choose either to approach our fellow human beings with suspicion or to approach them with an open mind, a dash of optimism, and a great deal of candor.” –Tom Hanks

 
This is both the simplest thing to understand cognitively, yet it’s one of the most difficult things to accept. It’s something we want, yet it’s something we will never have perfectly on this side of heaven. I think this is especially the case when it comes to family. Continue reading

Christmas Box: Presents and Presence

“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!” –Charles Dickens

IMG_4242bMerry Christmas from me and Princess Belle! Isn’t she cute?

Belle is our lovely 6-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, and she’s great friends with my sister’s dog Foxy.

My family has a few traditions on Christmas Eve: 1) Early dinner out in Missoula before… 2) attending and participating in the Christmas Eve service at Living Savior Lutheran Church, where afterwards we drive home and… 3) before anyone changes out of dress clothes, my siblings and I pose for a photo on the stairs next to the Christmas tree.

Continue reading

Make Christmas Merry

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” –Calvin Coolidge

I express the following thoughts with the idea that I’m addressing myself as much as I am addressing you. In fact, I’m probably thinking out loud to myself, and to my experiences, more than to anyone else. What I know is, many good and bad things in this world are beyond our control, yet many aspects of our lives can be directed by the kind of attitude we decide to have—for ourselves and toward others. Perhaps I am naive in believing that people can change, even when they themselves believe it is impossible. Yet I cannot proceed in any other way than to try and see the best in others, unless and until they prove to me otherwise. It is with these hopes and ideas in mind that I write:

Continue reading

Thanks Day #3

“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.” –Sarah Dessen

Today’s been one of those days that’s hard to put into words. I’ve honestly been sitting here, staring at my screen on and off for over 45 minutes. Not that it’s a bad thing… by no means!

It’s been a day filled with contentment, a rarer experience for me, and one I wish had a stronger presence in my life. And the thing is, it’s not impossible by any means. Continue reading