26 January 2012

Dreaming Beauty

Oh ED, you are a sneaky demon and you never give up, do you? Didn’t you know that when I wrote goodbye to you, I meant it for GOOD?! Maybe I am a threat to you, but just keep on attacking me, as hard as that is for me to say, because I know that each time you attack me it only makes me stronger in the end; you use the same tactics every time but now I see past your lies. Your existence is tragic but your death is well worth the wait and HARD work because goodness and truth in the end will reign over you and I want to play a part in your DEATH; oh yes, I said it! You are no longer a threat to me, no matter how hard you try. I’ll admit it, you are pretty convincing and your lies are painful. But, I see past what you’ve twisted to look like freedom, happiness, and acceptance to chains holding me down from true life and all the things you once promised; I see death in your path which is the opposite of what you promised, you sick liar. I am fed up with you; you tell me that those who are “smaller” than me are better and have more self-discipline even though I still can’t see the truth and reality of how I really look because you’ve distorted my eyes. I’ll never be tall and skinny, but that’s ok because who am I to tell the God of the universe He made a mistake when He created me uniquely? I may never have run a marathon, but you lie to me when you say those who have are better than me. There’s more to life than sports even though I’m still struggling to let go of my past dreams and what used to be my life and identity; I’m scared of letting go, but you’ve just made it easier by enlightening me with the fact that I am still holding onto my dreams of becoming a well-known athlete. I thought I’d let that go, so thank you for showing me that! I may never be the best runner, best softball player, and so on but I’ve found that my identity is not found in those temporary, fleeting, falsely satisfying things but instead in Christ alone. If I am known as the best runner in the world that might keep a smile on my face for some time but that smile and joy will eventually fade into the mists of the air surrounding me. The only love and acceptance which will forever keep a smile on my face and fill me with joy and passion is found in the supernatural love of God who sent His own flesh and blood, the absolute best He had, to be nailed to a cross and to die a cruel and terrifying death; the beauty is that Jesus was raised from the dead by supernatural powers not of this world just so I could keep this smile on my face and joy and passion in my heart. As much as you try to convince me elsewise, my life is not my own but is a gift from God who sent His spirit to dwell inside of me; when I punish myself, I am punishing God; life with you, ED, is a life of punishment and bondage. You seem to know my weaknesses and try to twist lies into my mind without me even noticing, but I’m not that stupid! I am a threat to you because the Holy Spirit is living inside of me and guiding my way; God has called me to nursing and you will do ANYTHING you possibly can to keep me from that- where God wants to use me. You even go so far as to tell me that if I exercise more, I will be a “better” and “stronger” person because you know my past; you fail to realize, however that my past does not define me. Placing my energy and time in extreme fitness and exercise is not going to get me closer to my future but will bring me hostage to my past; I don’t have to be as in shape, as muscular, etc. because my worth is no longer found there. I will NOT live a life in bondage to your lies; lies from the devil. Your lies lead to death and eternal torture but God’s truth leads to everlasting life of joy and excitement. Being the best is not possible- God’s already taken that role! I am going to live my life with God at the center instead of my selfish self; self-satisfaction is found in self-denial and taking up my cross, no matter where it takes me. My worth is not found on the outside but the inside which eventually radiates outward to sparkle and light up the world. Life with you, ED results in a cow pasture surrounded by “cow pies” but life with God results in SPARKLES around every corner! Hmmm….what a hard choice! NOT! You are a fool to think you can beat my warrior and my King; you’ve already been beaten and are living on wasted time. Sparkles are going to fill this world and I am choosing to DREAM BEAUTY!

21 January 2012

Life in all its Essence

Some days I’m left crying out to life to slow down whereas other days I long for life to speed up; either I can’t find the balance or I can never be satisfied remains the two options. With college starting up again, I’ve had to put myself into school mode and switch gears from the slow lane into the fast lane. I’m recalling how to live in the fast lane and remembering how challenging it can be when I don’t stay focused. My classes once again are intense; some days I want nothing more than to give up; some days it feels like my brain will literally explode from one more thing! Lies flood my mind about my own worth and my capabilities, crippling me at times and knocking me down relentlessly with a weight beyond my strength. Failures come my way one after another, but then God shows me what I viewed as a failure He sees through different eyes; eyes not expecting perfection. He reveals to me the cruelty of my expectations through the harshness of reality and makes known the self-inflicted wounds caused by words with the power to destroy. He reveals to me the beauty evident in each situation, when it is too painful to search any longer. My God is my strength; strength I do not deserve but receive through the shedding of innocent blood.
Last week something happened; a true work of the Holy Spirit indeed, which I can’t deny but came at an extremely inconvenient time! I received a phone call from an agency who wants to assist in publishing a book- my book. Fear cripples me and beats me relentlessly with the unknown possibilities of exposing myself to the whole world; of stripping the walls down which secure all of my most hidden darkness. The pain at times overwhelms me and relentless criticism from heartless souls shatters my already wounded heart. I am clueless as to writing a book and I HATE that feeling; the world of publishing is a foreign land to me and leaves me having to blaze a trail once again into the unknown. I don’t have enough to say to write a book; I’m just a young inexperienced teenager who is scared to death to say yes to becoming an author. A decision awaits me in which there are only two paths and I’m struggling to feel the push of God in the right direction; sometimes I wish He’d just make a billboard or eliminate the options to make it clear to me.
This week we made a care package for Courtney and her team stuffed to the brim with her favorite goodies. I wanted to make something special for each individual on the team and God placed an image into my mind of what to do. I searched store after store in search of rung note cards and finally found some making the journey well worth the wait. I designed cover pages individualized to each team member in hopes of combining their personalities with strength for each day. I had good intentions of filling these books completely with scripture, quotes and other forms of encouragement but ran out of time and hand cramping consumed my only hands. I picked out and wrote in each individual’s book verses which God nudged me to include and encouraged each in all ways I felt so called. This is what got me through the darkest times of my life and brought me to light more vibrant than words; I pray God does the same for each one of them and that they pass on the tradition and “weapons” of sort to those at war with the enemy.
I continue to stand in awe of the beauty at Akron Children’s; a place almost my deathbed is now my home- a home filled with love and laughter. This is what keeps me going in the craziness of nursing school; the hopes of doing for others what others have done for me, of spreading joy and laughter to those who just want to cry, of bringing hope to the hopeless and comfort to those lacking, of bringing smiles to the hurting, of serving those who need it most, and most of all to
 LOVE -The one thing with the capacity
·         To heal
·         To overcome all darkness
·         To bring freedom into reality
·         To bring hope to the hopeless
·         To provide undefeatable strength
·         To bring beauty to all things
·         To bring families back together
·         To save the lost
·         To put a smile on anyone’s face
·          To provide comfort
·         To draw together
·         To bring motivation
And so much more! I’ve always believe and still do believe, as crazy as it may sound that love is what makes the world go round; I firmly believe that love will overcome all things.

14 January 2012

Not by my Strength

I’ve been told countless times I would never recover; my Anorexia was too severe to ever truly and fully walk in recovery. “You will never be the same person and in fact will have many medical problems since you’ve put your body through years of torment and starvation.” Hopeless words like these haunt my mind as I recall the ugly and dark past once called reality. I’ve been told many times I shouldn’t be breathing because of all I put my body through and the efforts my own body took to preserve my quickly fading and eroding self.  Hope seemed to vanish into the dark crevices underground protected by life stealing demons. When hope seemed forever lost and all measures exhausted, I cried out to my Father in Heaven, “I have no desire to live anymore for this burden is too much to carry and is weighing me down to nothing. My body is quickly dying and time is wasting away; I’m clueless, Lord and exhausted. My mind makes no sense as thoughts relentlessly swirl about in every direction tearing at my mind. Is this the life you have called me to live; a life of torture and suffering all the days of my life? I know that I don’t deserve anything more, but a part of me, deep down in my soul is clinging to the tiny particles of hope left. I believe you have something more for me, but I’m exhausted and quickly fading. I surrender everything that’s left in me, which is not much, to you. Take the shattered pieces of my heart and mold them into something beautiful for your glory. Overcome the darkness of evil and sin to reveal the light of truth. I have come to my end and am clueless where to go from here. Carry me, Lord for I am too weak to stand. Don’t give up on me, even when everyone else has! Abba, Father, I cry out for mercy and for grace to save my ever wandering self.”

Sanctus Real’s song “Whatever You’re Doing” speaks perfectly to the chaos going on inside of me.
It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time to make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
And all I can do is surrender

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something Heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Reevaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow Your will
Or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is You want from me
I give everything I surrender...

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something Heavenly
Something Heavenly

Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to release all my held back tears

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something Heavenly

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This is something bigger than me
Larger than life something Heavenly
Something Heavenly

It's time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out

Just when all hope was lost, a hero arrived to prove the world wrong and to save his precious princess from the tight grips of evil destroying her. “The Lord says this to you: Be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude; for this battle is not yours, but God’s (2 Chronicles 20:15).” On my own, I was incapable and powerless over sin; God on the other hand could defeat it effortlessly in the blink of an eye. He proved professionals wrong and brought me to the other side of the fence to abundant life full of unceasing beauty. My knight in shining armor is the King of the entire universe and loves nothing more than to prove mere humans wrong. Miracles are what he specializes in. Weakness is not a curse but a gift; a chance to experience the power of a relentless King bigger than words.  2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “but he has told me, My grace is all you need, because my power is perfected in weakness. Therefore, I will most happily boast about my weaknesses, so that the Messiah's power may rest on me” (International Standard Version (©2008). Weakness is God’s gift to us which has been terribly misrepresented in this world. For many years I believed weakness was a curse and meant only for evil; I tried to hide weakness within the tightly guarded walls of my heart. Never showing weakness was a huge burden I carried on my shoulders moment after moment, determined to appear “strong” and “perfect”. Sooner or later, the lies I believed were going to break me and shatter my pride into a million pieces. Pride is one of the ugliest beasts on the planet, which seeks only to kill and destroy the essence of life. Nothing good comes from pride; not even one thing. Pride is a stumbling block and a foothold for the devil who wants to kill each one of us; he wants nothing more than to see each one of God’s precious and unique creations suffer and turn from God. Without God, we are nothing and completely powerless to the lies and deception of the devil, in which nothing good abides. In all honesty, the devil hates each and every person and wants nothing more than complete destruction. Doesn’t this sound so appealing; do you really want to surrender your life to someone who laughs at turmoil and seeks to destroy your life? A life in flames and surrounded by screams of death sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? I think not! No one, as evil as they may seem, deserves this kind of eternal life; As much as the devil tries to convince you otherwise, it is not one bit “cool” or “tough” to forever live this way. God gives every individual free will and once you die, there’s no turning back; no “do over”. We’re given one life to live, and one life only. Which vision appeals most to the desires of your heart for a lifetime of living? Heaven, full of beauty around every corner and exempt from pain of all kinds; or Hell, consumed by flames scorching the flesh and screams piercing the heart? It’s your choice; one no one can make for you.

09 January 2012

Beauty in the Unknown

I can’t think of a better way to end my Winter break than Steelers vs. Broncos playoff game! I have had the most amazing break; above and beyond what I could’ve dreamed! My God still never ceases to knock me off of my feet in amazement!

On Saturday I was privileged to go hunting with the men of my family; let me just say I fit right in! lol It brought back so many memories of my childhood; of camping in a tent when I was a toddler on our land down south, swimming in the river, tubing in Canada, and “roughing it” whenever we could- now those were the days! I’ll admit, I do have a “girly” side to me, which I tried to hide and stuff down when I was younger, but it is mostly drowned out by my daredevil side. My first tea party ended in a farting and burping competition as I was never too fond of “proper and ladylike etiquette”; I would’ve rather been outside getting dirty! I truly believe that God created everyone unique as I’m still to come across one just like me; not even my twin and I are the same! I used to believe I was just like everyone else and not unique in any way; uniqueness had a negative connotation in my mind. When I did receive compliments, it was constantly physical aspects being noticed which wounded my already broken heart to the core. “What was wrong with me?” I asked myself, “Why is my heart invisible?” I have found that beauty comes from within and uniqueness only adds to that beauty. I am no longer ashamed of my uniqueness as an individual which makes like so much more beautiful! 

Sunday morning we were privileged to have Robert Rogers speak of his miraculous testimony of losing his entire family yet to this day is still standing strong; having never turned to unhealthy measures to cope nor struggled with depression. He truly lost it all but God was enough to get him through. He inspired me in ways words could never begin to do justice; God truly is the Healer!! When I look at all these incredible miracles God has performed, such as Bethany Hamilton, Robert Rogers, Tim Tebow and so on I tend to minimize myself and want to throw my own testimony away; how could God use something so small and insignificant  for impact of any kind? My dream of being a famous athlete fell short; a part of me still envies Tim Tebow for his incredible impact on the world through sports. I haven’t set world records and the list goes on and on; however I choose to believe TRUTH that in all things God deserves credit. Tim Tebow is merely allowing God to work through him and is no different from me- a mere, insignificant human being falling short of perfection.
Sunday evening was possibly one of the most exciting times of my life; I think I literally screamed myself sick! Lol My man Tim Tebow did absolutely amazing; he started out weak but came back strong! Never in my life have I seen such an inspirational athlete whose life truly radiates Christ; I am drawn to the image of Christ in him (but also his athleticism!). Critics ridicule and tear him to shreds yet he never denies the name of Jesus. They say he can’t throw; but who threw a 316 yard pass?! Seriously?! There’s no interpreting the God of the universe who never ceases to amaze beyond words! Sports will always be a part of me which I got to embrace; the flashbacks of watching every Buckeye’s, Cavs, etc. games with my dad while screaming and acting crazy brings a smile to my face. Sports will always bring out a different side of me which was hidden for so long but is now recovered. 

Today was my first day back at college and I’ll admit I was nervous! The first day is always the worst as nothing can prepare for the unknown. God once again blew me away today! I was most nervous for my Algebra class since I knew absolutely nothing about my professor nor any fellow classmates. While I was waiting for the class prior to finish, I heard a sweet familiar voice call my name and then another familiar face after another filled the classroom; I could only stand in awe of my God and there was not one ounce of doubt that this was a divine moment along my journey planned by God. What began as my biggest fear ended in laughter and excitement which proved to me that fear is not from God but is intended to keep us from Him! 

While at college I was asked to run the surgery desk at ACH in the afternoon which I just couldn’t turn down! As soon as class ended I headed towards the highway to my destination and actually made it in time to eat a quick lunch & change into my uniform. I’ve never felt so at home in a hospital before Akron Children’s; every day amazes me of the beauty of this life! Interacting with the families is the highlight of my “job” as people bring a smile to my face. Encouragement, as much as I like to deny, is a part of the true essence of me; my dream is to turn darkness into beauty. I wish I had “all the right words” to say to the hurting families to help them through the trials of life, but I don’t. I trust that despite this fact, God can still use me to bring beauty amidst darkness. 

Sports were the icing to the cake of my day- a day full of beauty radiating from every corner! I can’t wait for the adventures tomorrow will bring!

05 January 2012

A New Year

Winter break is almost over and I’m sooo excited; who knew I would actually like going to college?! I love having a busy schedule and staying active with things to do; sitting around drives me crazy!! Don’t get me wrong, I do like a break every once in a while but I think my break has been well enjoyed! Here’s a glimpse of my break; I of course don’t remember everything that happened, so here’s what I remember!
My mouth has been watering at the sound of Menchie’s frozen yogurt, so I decided to take the younger kiddos with me and we had a blast!! The little ice cream parlor is so cute and colorful and the smell of freshly made waffle cones radiates through the doors; there are at least fifteen different yogurt flavors and just about every topping you could ever think of! My mouth was craving chocolate, a girl’s best friend, so I made myself a chocolaty masterpiece with everything my childlike heart desired; OMG- I didn’t want my bowl to run out- it was that good! I will definitely be back to try another experiment of flavors!
New Year’s Eve- what a party! My amazing youth group partied literally all night with exciting games like kickball, volleyball, giant dutch blitz, and so much more! My personal favorite was kickball, since I wasn’t quite so exhausted yet! My competitive side came out once again (what a surprise!) and I anticipated every opportunity to dive and steal bases; by the end of my game my knees were bloody and turned pussy and slimy but it was well worth it! Pain is gain! We also played girls against guys in a game where the guys had to try to hold the girls in front of them in their seats in order to keep them from running away to an empty chair; that was quite a riot which ended in torn shirts! Later on we played giant dutch blitz, which is always a blast! I begged to be the runner, so I got to run our cards out as fast as I could to beat the other players; you of course can’t play this game without diving! Midway into the game I remembered that Courtney was going to call; it would be the last time in several weeks, so I called home to see if I could somehow talk to her. Sure enough, she was Skyping my parents an Carson, so they held up the phone to the computer so I could talk to my beautiful twin on New Year’s Eve; that was the highlight of my night! As soon as the other youthies heard me talking to her, they wanted to also, so I put my phone on speaker phone and we all yelled to her. She was so incredibly excited to hear the voices of her long lost youth group and couldn’t stop laughing; I could hear excitement and smiles in her voice, which made me happy!
After deciding spur of the moment to sleep over at the church, I ran home to pack my things. I made myself my second cup of iced coffee, which is extremely rare because I HATE coffee, and grabbed everything else I needed. Once back at the church, we had worship time including singing songs and just standing in awe of the King; it was amazing and enlivening! Then before midnight we had an hour or so to share testimonies of our past year and to come up with goals for 2012; we all couldn’t stop talking and made it past midnight! It was so encouraging to hear from the beautiful hearts of Christians who were real and honest enough to open up the very depths of their hearts in obedience to God; it was a night of boldness! I couldn’t stop thanking God for such an amazing family of believers with such passion and enthusiasm who never cease to encourage me; one thing for sure- I LOVE my youth group!
After our somewhat “reverent” and mellow time, we headed back to the gym, my favorite spot, and played volleyball. By then my energy was in “crash mode”, so I was a little crazy and weird; I’m pretty sure I played the worst I’ve ever played, but hey, it was 2:00 AM!!!  I brought my buddy Brutus, my OSU pillow pet, to lie on while my team was off; I just wanted to sleep! After too many hours of volleyball to count, some of the girls and I headed into the coffee house to play Buzzword; by then I was in “hyper/need sleep mode”, so I’m sure it was quite an embarrassing sight to behold! You truly never know what to expect with me; they laugh because I’m such a tomboy yet “girly” which is such an extreme combination! I don’t mind getting bloody and dirty yet I also like getting dressed up; they especially laugh when I wear a flower in my hair while wearing the most “tomboyish” outfit. What can I say; I just love accessories!  Yes, I am a rare bird, but I love it! Different is what makes this world beautiful!
Anyway, later on we played ghost in the graveyard on the benches in the pitch black sanctuary which was an epic failure; I pictured it more exciting in my head, but we were all almost “dead”. I fell asleep on the “bleachers” and woke up to an abandoned sanctuary! I don’t remember what happened after this; all I remember is sleeping up on the couch in the youth room. Oh, & I took a shower and got ready for church at five or so in the morning; it just felt too good to turn down! All in all it was an amazing New Year’s Eve & day; church however was a little hard to keep my eyes open! I went home and crashed in my bed, which has never felt so good!
On Tuesday I was privileged to be a nurse shadow at Aultman and got to experience life as a nurse. I felt so out of place at first with all of the professionals surrounding me; going into the hospital rooms and helping with nursing duties seemed so illegal and foreign to me! My amazing friend taught me how to do an IV, dispense medicine, chart and document, work an IV machine, and so much more! I had a blast and just tried to absorb as much as I could! I even got to watch a CAT scan! Words can’t even BEGIN to describe my out of this world experience; I feel so unworthy to be called to be a nurse! At times I get so impatient and wish I could fast forward time to actually writing BSN, RN behind my name but then doubt and fear overwhelm me; fear again of my once worst nightmare becoming my reality. Honestly, I am terrified; terrified to poke someone with an IV needle, figure out medicine dosage, run an IV, document and determine treatment and so many more life threatening responsibilities because I’ve been on the receiving end too many times to count. The feeling of an IV being shoved, maneuvered, and twisted into my shriveled veins haunts my mind as I see myself doing this to others. I’m scared, but I will go; courage overcomes fear! I am called to bring hope to the hopeless and to share my own journey through darkness with others; I have learned and hope to live by the fact that this life is not my own nor is it about me. When dread overtakes my mind and fear overwhelms me I remember the faces of the dying and the hopeless whose worlds are shaken beyond belief yet are still standing; I see the beauty that God has called each and every one of us to and I am not content with just sitting around and letting this ever crumbling world go down in flames, taking those who were never given a chance with it. I am not going to sit back and watch the agony of burning flesh and screaming souls when I know that there is a greater power who is able to SAVE!!