When They Say The War Is Over

beauty, Faith, hope, poetry, Uncategorized

When they say the war is over

The tears will burst forth from my eyes

Tears of happiness,

Relief,

And of thankfulness.

We will all come out of hiding

From our homes.

The doors will burst open

We’ll all run out into the street.

There will be dancing,

Laughter,

And embracing.

We’ll hug our neighbors,

Our friends,

The family we’ve been separated from.

Tears will be shed,

When we give each other the biggest

Most heartfelt hug…

For, we know.

We know what we’ve been through,

Apart,

But yet,

Together.

There will be a newfound appreciation

For embraces,

Quiet conversations with friends at a coffee shop,

Feeling comfort in a crowd.

For all the things we’d taken for granted

We will now cling to

And savor.

There will be a thirst

Finally quenched.

All that was lost

Will be found

Grieving will give way to healing

And understanding.

A fire will have been ignited

Within our souls

A lust for life,

Found again.

When the war is over,

We’ll remember our pain,

The tears we cried,

The angry shouts

Inside the confines of our walls.

But, that will only be a page

In the story.

For,

When the war is over,

We’ll remember the beauty

We found along the way.

When time slowed to a screeching halt,

Some of us dizzy from the lost momentum

From our frenzy and frenetic pace of before.

We’ll remember planting seeds

In the garden.

Sunflowers and lavender

Growing and blooming before our eyes

In the season of slow,

Still.

Of watch and wait.

And we’ll remember planting seeds

Of hope.

To our family, friends . . .

To those across the world.

We’ll remember the heroes,

The ones who told us to have faith,

To hope,

Dream,

Believe.

When the war is over,

We will laugh again.

And we will remember

What it’s like to live,

Again.

Freedom

Faith, lifestyle, poetry, Uncategorized

“Land! I see land!”

My eyes behold the distant shore. 

This boat I’ve been on, 

Has been my home. 

Rocking me to and fro.

Gently, 

And mercilessly. 

It’s carrying me along, 

But I’m stuck

Within its confines. 

The sea rages, 

And it calms. 

Then thunderously screams, 

“Hear me roar!”

As it crashes against my boat.

The warning of the sea

Keeps me within. 

I’m a weary sailor

Sailing the unrelenting waters

For far too long.

Seasick.

Alone on the ocean,

I’ve felt.

My compass is broken. 

Its failed me.

I know not which way to go, 

Or what to do.

But, then,

My eyes behold it. 

Land!

Will my boat reach it, 

Safely?

And then, I know.

Instinctually, 

I stop resisting. 

My tight grip on the wheel

Loosens,

White-knuckled and clenched, 

My hands finally soften.

I let the wind

Lead me. 

Guide my sails. 

Effortlessly, 

My boat glides gracefully

Upon the land. 

I am stunned.

I made it! 

Now what?

I stand there, 

Paralyzed.

I cannot get out of the boat. 

Safety

Is right outside, 

All I have to do is

Step out. 

Shaking, 

I at last get out. 

The sand is firm. 

Solid ground. 

Grounded. 

Steady.

Shaking . . . I am still,

But the earth holds me.

Welcomes me home.

The wind whispers 

Through the trees, 

“You’re safe.” 

One foot in front of the other.

It’s time now.

Time to run, 

Not in fear. 

But like a wild child, 

An explorer who has 

Discovered a new land. 

Run forward.

Don’t look back.

Run to the future. 

Arms wide open,

I welcome you. 

I laugh as tears 

Fall at the same time. 

Tears of happiness, 

Of Knowing. 

Because I’ve been here before. 

I stood at this place, 

Once upon a time. 

Everything that had caged me in, 

Is gone. 

And I laugh, because I’m no longer frightened. 

I’m no longer lost.

I’ve found land.

A Dangerous Business

inspiration, mental health, travel, Uncategorized

I knew in my heart it was something I HAD to do. I had to prove to myself that of which I did not know yet as I set out.

But, I knew that I had to travel.

That I had to go.

Alone.

As we neared the airport, my heart was racing and I felt sick to my stomach.

I was terrified.

And yet, I was ready.

I had prepped myself mentally a thousand times over for this moment . . .

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Lao Tzu

It was time.

We pulled up to the departures gate. My husband had asked me if I wanted him to walk in with me to help me get checked in and to say goodbye to me inside the airport instead of at the curb.

At the last minute, I said, “Let’s say goodbye here.”

He understood. He knows me. And he knew why I had to take this solo journey. I wanted to do it all on my own, from that very first step.

We embraced. There was this urge to beg him to come with me. Or, to change my mind, and not go at all.

But, it set in.

The determination.

The grit.

The grit I had learned that I did have, after facing a battle that required me to find strength within me a couple years prior. A battle of the mind.

And so, after hugging my husband, I felt bravery overtake me. I knew, at this point, I could not and would not be stopped.

As I flew over the Atlantic Ocean, by myself on that plane, my first ever solo journey, I could not help but tremble with fear. I’m not a fan of flying, and I felt on edge the entire nine hours to the first stopping point.

As the plane landed in Madrid, Spain for my three hour layover, I breathed a small sigh of relief.

But, I wasn’t there yet. At my destination.

I remember walking through the Madrid airport, and honestly feeling like I was going to pass out because I was so anxious.

“Just one foot in front of the other. Don’t stop,” I said to myself.

I also kept telling myself, “This is crazy! This is crazy what YOU’RE doing, of all people.”

The negative self-talk had been constant since my battle with postpartum depression, even after being healed from the illness. Going through that and still experiencing elevated anxiety, I had become my own worst critic. I didn’t believe in myself anymore. I saw myself as weak. As a failure. As incapable. I did not view myself as the same as the person standing next to me. I saw myself as “different”. One who couldn’t handle life as easily as those around me . . . or as I had used to handle life . . . “Before”. Before PPD.

That is why. That is why I was traveling across the globe to a foreign place I’d never been. Where I did not know anyone. I was not going to meet up with family or friends, or join a guided tour group. No, I was going alone. To one of the most beautiful and romantic places on earth.

To Italy. To see the red duomo, eat real authentic pizza, to be immersed in all that was foreign, including the language of which I did not speak.

To see. To see the world. And perhaps to see . . . if I was capable.

So, one foot in front of the other. That’s what we’ve all gotta do sometimes. It’s the only thing we can do, in our hardest, most challenging moments.

That last two and a half hour flight from Madrid to Florence, Italy went by quickly. The relief that washed over me when the wheels hit the tarmac was a moment I’ll never forget.

Then, the excitement finally set in.

All the worries, fears, and anxious thoughts left me.

For, I had arrived.

I was in Italy!

I’d always dreamed of and romanticized Italy.

The adrenaline, the indescribable rush that takes over your very being that only those who love travel can understand . . . it coursed through my veins.

Happiness!

I stepped off the plane and walked down the steps and looked in awe around me. I was in Italy. I was breathing the air of a foreign country. I looked at the hillsides and couldn’t believe I was there. I laughed out loud. A huge smile crossed my face as an airline attendant greeted me with a “Ciao!” and I said “Ciao” back (hello and goodbye were basically the only words I knew!)

After getting my suitcase, I felt so giddy as I looked out the window from the back seat of my taxi. It was all so surreal. Where you really feel like you have to pinch yourself to believe it’s real.

I finally arrived at my hotel. It was filled with old world charm, renaissance-like paintings, wood-beamed ceilings and a dark interior, but elegant and filled with cozy charm at the Grand Hotel Baglioni. I was assisted with my luggage by a porter, and I felt like a Queen. My room was small, but cozy and the stained glass window added beauty and character.

I soon went down to explore the hotel to see the lobby and the elegant bar/sitting room. I sat in that stately room with paintings surrounding me and amongst other travelers, wondering where they were from. I knew them not, and we exchanged no words, but I found comfort to be in their company nonetheless.

After sitting there awhile, I went back to my room. The adrenaline was still stirring strong, but then it started to creep in. The “push and pull” feeling . . . the resistance. The knowing what you want to do, but the anxiety pulling you away from it.

When looking out the window of my comfortable hotel room, I saw the people on the streets below carrying umbrellas.

“I don’t want to get out in the rain,” I told myself. I opened the window and heard all the noise. It was busy. Crowded. So many people. The anxiety began to rise.

I had just gotten to Florence! And when you first arrive to any destination, at least for me, all I can do is go out and explore!

But, in that moment, fear and doubt were taking over, and I wanted to stay in my safe hotel room and order room service. “And never get out!” I was thinking, irrationally, to myself.

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

Thankfully, after a brief phone chat with my husband, a pep talk that I needed and that he’s so good at giving to me whenever I’ve needed it the most . . . I stepped outside the door.

The rain pitter-pattered gently upon my umbrella as I walked on the cobble stones of the ancient city. I was here. I was among the people. Walking amongst these strangers, I was one of them. I was not an outsider looking in. And it was intoxicatingly refreshing.

I felt alive.

There was a contagious energy that ignited again my passion for travel. For being surrounded with NEW. I grow weary if I see the same sights every day. To be where you’ve never been before, there’s nothing like it. The world is yours. At your feet. So much beauty to behold. Too much to take in. I love it!

I did not feel like a foreigner, but I felt one with the people walking next to me. One with the city.

I’ll never forget the moment when I turned the corner, and saw what I had set out to see. I gasped out loud and my jaw dropped, when the maroon-colored Duomo stood majestically in front of me. Its grandeur and great height at which it rose above me literally took my breath away.

It was one of the happiest moments of the entire trip, a picture in my mind that when I close my eyes to this day, I can still see it. And I can feel it.

My next three days in Florence were spent wandering and exploring. Also, meeting up with an old friend and eating gelato together and having fun walking the city. It was refreshing to spend time with her and hear about her and her family’s life living in Italy as ex-pats. I envied her life, living in Bologna, Italy, and just imagined our family moving to Italy one day, too.

But, there were other moments, along the way, where I felt the need to stay stuck inside my hotel room. Where I wanted to be safe. And when I even wanted to come home early, and a phone call where I asked my husband to come meet me in Florence.

Those moments, though, were trumped. By bravery. Courage. Determination. Grit.

By strength.

If I had stayed in my hotel room, my comfort zone . . .

I would never have walked into the solemn, hauntingly beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. Or tasted the best pizza I’d ever had as I sat at a table with a red and white checker board table cloth, people watching from the piazza. Eaten risotto overlooking the Arno River. Walked across the Ponte Vecchio.

Getting lost, then finding my way.

Encountering mishaps, and getting through them, on my own.

Trying to communicate with people where language was indeed a barrier.

It’s a dangerous business going out your door, sometimes, yes. But it’s even more dangerous staying inside.

Getting lost in your books, dreaming, but never living.

Settling.

A sedentary life.

A comfortable, safe, boring existence.

Staying inside and never having adventures.

Never expanding your horizons, or your mind. But instead getting lost in your head. I’d rather get lost wandering the cobblestone streets of a city that I can’t even pronounce the name of, than be lost in my own head all day.

We have to push ourselves.

And that’s what this solo journey made me have to do.

At a time when I needed it the most.

For, after all was said and done, this journey forever changed my life.

When the plane landed back at the airport in the States, when I was finally home, the tears streamed down my face. I sat on that plane, not caring if others could see or hear me cry.

I said to myself as the tears fell and I exhaled the biggest sigh of relief, “I did it.”

That was THE moment I’d been waiting for and what I had set out for by traveling to Italy by myself.

I needed that.

My wounded heart, soul, mind, and spirit needed it.

For, I knew, AGAIN, that which I’d forgotten. That which the enemy had been trying to blind my vision . . .

I am strong.

I am not weak.

And, I am . . . quite capable.

“One thing about trains: It doesn’t matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.” -The Polar Express

Five Years Ago

anxiety, depression, Faith, God, inspiration, mental health, postpartum depression, Uncategorized

5 years ago.

Today.

It was November 17, 2014.

A day I will never forget.

The days leading up to it I had been experiencing mild anxiety and “the baby blues” after the birth of our daughter, Bella. She was born on October 18, 2014. I had gone to the doctor telling her my symptoms and she prescribed me an antidepressant.

The following morning, after taking the medication the day before, is when it all began.

It’s when postpartum depression and anxiety hit me like a freight train.

It was a Monday morning, I remember Josh leaving for work, and then laying in bed and the most awful feeling of dread that I’d never experienced before overtook me. My stomach began to hurt in a way that, also, I had never experienced before. My cheeks got flushed and were burning and were visibly red.

And then the thought crossed my mind. A thought of the bottle of Ambien pills that I knew were in the dresser next to me. Why did I have that thought? I felt like I wanted to die. I felt like I was dying.

That’s when the panic set it. The first panic attack.

That’s the day postpartum depression hit.

The day the Enemy invaded my mind.

From that moment, that Monday morning in our little apartment in Denver, Colorado, where we were living at the time…from that moment is when I entered a battlefield.

A battle that I did not sign up for.

I had to leave Colorado, with our newborn daughter, and fly on a plane with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, leaving my husband behind, to go back to East Texas. To go stay with my parents for what we thought would be a short time. We didn’t know what was going on with me. Thought it was just a bad reaction to the medication.

But, as time wore on and I continued to get worse, we eventually realized that I was fighting against a mental illness.

The next three months were indeed a living hell. Every morning, without fail and like clockwork, I’d wake up with that feeling of dread, and have a panic attack – shaking uncontrollably, thinking and saying irrational things. My mind was out of control…and then I would throw up. It was a cycle, a cycle that kept me in it, and kept me terrified that I was never going to get better. Satan shouted lies to my nearly every moment during my battle.

But…

God.

God intervened at just the right time.

Every day I would see crows and buzzards in the towering, black, dead tree that was in the backyard. The crows “ca-cawing” sound triggered that pit in my stomach.

Until, God “sent help from heaven”, and sent me a wren. A tiny bird that sat on the red rocking chair of the back porch of my parent’s house. It looked in at me through the glass window, a mere two feet away. It looked me straight in the eyes. I felt that I was standing in the presence of God. Our eyes interlocked, and God was the gentle whisper of the wind by gently, but boldly, reminding me of His presence. That He was near. That I WAS going to get better. He whispered and breathed HOPE into my heart, mind, and soul.

Not long after that, I finally found a psychiatrist and she, after diagnosing me with “severe postpartum depression and anxiety”, prescribed me with a new medication.

I took the medicine in February of 2015, and the next day…was the first day in 3 months that I did not have a panic attack!

It brings a lump to my throat now as I write these words and remember…

God saved me.

God healed me.

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”

And then,

The Joy!

They joy that permeated throughout my entire being.

The smile on my face, the laughter.

The inexplicable happiness that my husband felt after fighting alongside me and after witnessing, helplessly, his wife suffer in agony, just as he suffered. The happiness on my Mom and Dad’s faces as they were truly also in the trenches with me every day. My sister. My brother-in-law. My in-laws. All of my family. My friends.

My daughter.

Oh, my precious, beautiful little Isabella. I could now finally be the mom to her that I’d been longing to be for her. She kept me going each day. Looking at her and knowing that I had to fight, I had to fight this battle, for her.

And so I did.

And, I won.

God reached His hand down to me and rescued me from the angry waves.

I, we . . . my husband and I, could finally enjoy our daughter.

Has it been a heck of a journey since finding my healing that day in February?

Yes.

It has had its twists and turns, ups and downs.

But here I am.

5 years later.

Here I stand.

Here Josh and I both stand, together.

He was my rock and has always been my strength.

My lifesaver.

And here we are, our daughter is five years old now.

The joy she brings to us . . . there are no words. She is the light of our lives. She’s my best little friend, and I love her with all of my heart, mind, and soul.

Wounded?

Yes, both Josh and I still carry wounds, 5 years later . . . every year this time of year, I think we will always be triggered. It brings about so many emotions. Sadness, thankfulness, anger, frustration.

It was a loss.

My counselor encouraged me to give myself the permission to allow myself to grieve. You can grieve over a number of things. This is something I continue and that Josh continues to grieve over.

The loss of “what should have been.”

The loss of enjoying and soaking in those precious moments of our first child’s newborn days.

It’s okay to feel these things.

To have those moments where, you don’t feel so thankful.

Where you do feel mad, angry – feeling that we were robbed. I think it’s okay to voice those thoughts and feelings to God. He can handle what we have to say to Him.

He understands.

He wants us to talk to Him.

He’s listening.

I want to honor my feelings.

Not push them away, or feel guilt for the times when I’m not looking at things on the bright side. That’s reality. The push and pull . . . between how you want to feel, ideally, and how you really feel.

But, I cannot get stuck there. Go there, yes, but I must try and not get stuck.

And this I do know.

This is a story written by the hand of God.

My story.

Our story.

He orchestrated everything.

Not saying He caused any of it to happen,

But the Great I AM,

The Creator, Artist, Master of the Universe,

He orchestrated the beautiful moments.

He allowed me to see that what I went through was spiritual warfare.

Through nature, it was such a strong visual to me,

Of God vs. Satan.

Black buzzards that sometimes even flew in circles above me as I sat outside some days when I was sick.

The Enemy. Darkness.

And then the wren. That tiny bird with the most beautiful birdsong that began to sing to me outside my window every morning, after God knew I’d heard enough of the crows taunting voices.

This is a tale of Victory!

Of Triumph!

The Light won!

Over the past few days leading up to this anniversary, I’ve been a rollercoaster of emotions.

I’ve cried so many tears.

I’ve felt deep frustration and anger at times that we had to go through it. Frustrated that anxiety is still very present in my life.

Wanting so desperately to feel gratitude and thankfulness . . . and, at times, feeling this wholeheartedly. But frustrated that I still experience so much fear. I suppose PTSD, as my counselor has mentioned to me before that it sounds like I have that a little bit.

Yesterday, I went for a run. I needed to let some energy out and all these negative emotions were building . . . I ran so hard and it was so good for me.

I had been feeling in a place of defeat.

Defeat?!

You might wonder why would I feel that?

And that’s where I’d like to say,

That is Satan.

Satan trying to be conniving . . .

Trying to convince me of lies . . .

To steal, again . . .

To steal from me of how I truly should feel.

As I was on my run, ironically enough,

I saw my Enemy.

My trigger.

It was a beautiful, sunny day.

And, out of nowhere,

Appears a lone, black buzzard,

Flying in the sky.

He was flying above, getting closer.

I looked up at him

As he was right above me.

He looked down at me for a moment.

Moment of truth, it felt like.

And then, it kept on flying.

Away from me.

It was a powerful, profound moment.

Perhaps it was Satan realizing not to mess with me.

Or perhaps it was me realizing

That Satan ain’t got nothing on me!

Keep flying, away from here,

Away from me.

You were never welcome,

And you’re never welcome back again.

I’ll start seeing myself now

The way I need to see myself!

Satan’s lies are soon turned to deaf ears,

For I will not listen to him anymore.

I will see myself

How God wants me to see me.

I fought.

I won.

I am not defeated.

Satan is defeated, and I shall trample upon him.

I am a warrior,

“Linzena the Warrior Princess”!

I’m a fighter.

I am strong.

God has given me strength.

5 years later.

And here I stand.

I await the sun to rise this morning,

That marks five years postpartum.

I await the sun to rise,

And rise with it I will.

I will continue to rise,

To hold my head up high,

Proud of myself

For how far I’ve come.

Rise, rise, rise.

Grow, grow, grow.

Shine, shine, shine.

Live, live, live.

Laugh, laugh, laugh.

I am a warrior.

I will raise up my sword today

Up to the sky,

Declaring victory!

I will, with strength and pride,

Carry my shield.

I will stake my claim,

Placing my flag into the ground.

My claim is the right to love myself,

After all I’ve been through,

And to not let the negative self-talk continue on.

I stand upon the enemy’s back,

Yes, he’s trampled upon beneath my feet.

Today, the time has come.

Watch me Rise!

Remember Who You Are

beauty, inspiration, lifestyle, poetry, Uncategorized

I Remember. 

I remember who I was. 

As a little girl and as a young woman.

I’ve always been a free spirit.

I was the one sitting on the swings in college, journal and pen in hand, and gazing dreamily up at the clouds peacefully swirling gently across the sky.

The daydreamer. 

The romantic.

Smiling at the flowers. 

Pocahontas talking to the trees. 

Singing out loud, 

Not caring if anyone heard me. 

Imaginative. 

Getting lost in books of make-believe worlds that became real to me. 

Imagining of living in Middle Earth, where elves and hobbits were no myth or legend. 

I’m an Adventurer. 

I’m the one who thinks “too much”. 

Who feels “too much”. 

The one who loves deeply with all of her heart, 

And yet fears to love with everything, 

Afraid of losing that which she loves. 

I’m the little girl who played with dolls, 

And also made mud-pies baked in the sun, 

And climbed trees bare foot. 

I’m a dreamer.

A wanderer. 

A traveler. 

A lover of the mystery. 

Of new. 

New places.

New faces. 

Stories. 

Tell me your story, please, 

And I’ll tell you mine. 

I have a way of laughing

That makes my nose crinkle 

And I sometimes even snort 

When something really makes me laugh.

 

I’m a believer.

In Magic. 

In miracles. 

In dreams coming true. 

“Remember who you are,”

Mufasa, with love, sternly reminds his son, Simba, 

In “The Lion King”. 

That scene has always been so powerful to me.

God, with love, sternly reminds me, 

“Remember who you are,”

As I gaze up at the clouds again. 

Maybe I’ve forgotten, along the way.

Because, well, Life. 

Life happened. 

Somewhere along the journey, 

The hard stuff happened. 

The pain. The loss. The fight. The battle. 

The trauma. The broken heart.

 

“Look harder…” 

Rafiki told Simba as he looked into the water. 

Look harder, 

And you’ll see her again. 

You’ll catch glimpses, 

Of You. 

The you before all the pain. 

She’s still there. 

I don’t see her all the time. 

But, I remember. 

The dreamer, the gypsy, the romantic, care-free spirit. 

Who would love to get caught up in the rain, 

And dance, 

And laugh so hard 

That that crinkle nose can be seen again. 

Who dreams of a wildflower wreath on her head, 

Her hair blowing in the wind

As she rides bare-back on a horse. 

A horse that is just as wild and free

As she is. 

I Remember. 

I remember who I was. 

I am still all those things.

 

I will not forget. 

It’s All Gonna Be Magnificent

anxiety, beauty, blogger, christian living, Faith, God, inspiration, Uncategorized

“And there she stands

Throwing both her arms around the world

The world that doesn’t even know

How much it needs this little girl

It’s all gonna be magnificent, she says.”


Whenever I listen to these words from the beautiful, heart-stirring song by “Elbow”, it brings so many images to my mind. 
I see me. How and WHO I want to be. 
I see her vividly in my mind. 


She is laughing. 

She is Free. 

Dancing.

 
Smiling so big that it makes her crinkle her nose. The same smile that she knows her husband fell in love with her, many, many years ago. She still smiles and laughs, but is it the same? Is it as often, back when life seemed easier? More simple?

 
I see the “little girl” that I used to be. The me before “life got in the way.” Life has been beautiful and I Thank God for all my blessings. My husband. My beautiful daughter. I have truly been blessed beyond measure. But, like most of you, I have experienced pain and darkness. Sometimes I feel like it’s taken its toll on my spirit.

 
When this song plays, I see the woman I want to be. A woman who puts her wholehearted trust and confidence in God each and every day. Who believes that He will walk with her through whatever might come her way. Shouldn’t she know that, and have the deepest faith, because He’s always been with her, even in her darkest hours? She wants to believe that God will give her the desires of her heart, and He KNOWS her heart’s desires.

 
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25 


Do I want to be that woman?! Do I want to laugh without fear of the future? A resounding Yes! 


Do I want anxiety do my constant companion? 

Do I want fear to STOP Me? 


Can I use this fear, instead, as a CATALYST to drive me forward into the direction, the path, I want to go? Sometimes I think we get to a point in our lives where we get so fed up with… so tired of the way we’ve been living. The roadblocks standing in our way. 


And then we feel this anger rise within us. An anger because, we KNOW, we deserve better than this. We deserve to be treated better than we have been treating ourselves. We become angry at the Enemy for the lies and doubts he’s instilled within us, that we have been listening to for FAR TOO LONG. 


I know that God is walking with me on this journey. He knows where I’ve been. He knows my heart. He knows the power of Satan, and God knows the lies that I have held onto.

 
He’s been working on my heart. This has been a year of “growing pains.” 

Growth. 

Stagnancy.

 
A stirring. 


It’s painful to grow. But it is worth it! 


If you feel stuck, you can get out. A seed has to be planted in the ground, and it works hard to break out of its shell and through the earth to blossom into beauty. To see the sun and the light, sometimes it takes going through darkness. And it takes time. Patience. 


There’s a place where I want to be, and our family to be, that I envision.

 
Striving. 

Trying. 

Growing. 

Learning.


There’s been Resistance. It makes me laugh, because Satan sees. He sees me. He sees this stirring within me, the things I’m trying to let go of, and the good things of God that I’m trying to cling to. And he doesn’t want me to say goodbye to him. He wants to dwell in my heart, soul, spirit, and mind.

 
But he doesn’t belong there.

 
God does. 


And I laugh, because I know that…

“It’s All Gonna Be Magnificent.”

The Bricks

blogger, christian living, inspiration, lifestyle, Uncategorized

That’s what the place where all the “cool kids” would hang out was called at my high school. I think it’s funny looking back now, that the cool, popular kids had a name that everyone knew belonged to them. It was their territory. Of course, there were bricks, literal bricks, where they all hung out in the courtyard.

Notice I say, “they, and not “we.” For I was not a part of this exclusive, non-inclusive group. It always kind of bothered me that I was not a part of this group, and I wondered how I could make the cut.

As years have passed, and I think back to those days of being a teenager trying to figure out who she was, I realize that, you know what? I am THANKFUL!

Thankful that I was NOT a part of that group. For these high schoolers were, for the most part, snobs (just being honest!) They didn’t even look the way of those standing outside the circle.

Instead, I found myself with a small group of friends, the ones who needed a friend. Who were real, not fake. Who were unique. Different, in a good way. They were funny. Made me laugh! Some of them were considered “weird” or “outsiders”. This felt like a good place to be. Because I could be me.

And isn’t that one of THE BEST feelings to have…to feel like you belong? Like you can be yourself, your very true self – quirks and all!

To be honest, along the way and even to this day, sometimes I still feel this desire to be a part of a group where deep inside I feel like I don’t belong. The longing to belong doesn’t just go away after high school. Neither does the temptation to get the “name brand” so that maybe you’ll have a better chance. At some point, maybe you’ll get in that group, or “be there” …the place you’ve always wanted to be. In the circle. Standing at “The Bricks”.

But, in that group, are you…You? Can your true colors shine through and you’ll have no fear of being judged, but instead be embraced with love and grace? Are you the person you know you need to be?

Wherever you are in life right now, whatever season of life, age, or location on the map…I encourage you to be YOU. I know it sounds cliche, but it is something that once you have that mindset, to be free to be you, and to LOVE who you are, you will find Freedom!

And then others will follow your lead. They’ll say, “I want that.” She/He is secure in their own skin. And they can’t be bothered with what anyone thinks about them!

I think once you are yourself, you will find your tribe. The ones who will support and encourage you. “Your people.” And sometimes you have to work hard to find your tribe. You can’t just sit there and do nothing and expect the tribe to magically form. It does take work. Time. Effort. But it’s so worth it!

If you find yourself in a tribe already, don’t make it non-inclusive. Let’s not be like the cool kids at “The Bricks”, shunning those who aren’t in it…rolling our eyes at the ones who we feel don’t belong.

I think about Jesus, and where would he have hung out if had gone to my high school. Would he have stood at The Bricks, turning a blind eye to the young, insecure, lost girl or boy just walk past by with their head looking down? Afraid even to make eye contact.

I think we know the answer to that question.

Where am I going to stand? Where are you going to stand? At The Bricks?

Or are we going to go outside the circle and find that lost person, hold their hand, and let them feel and know that they are loved? That they are seen. That they BELONG.