Growth.

In the past year, I’ve had the joy of growing closer to God and Jesus.

Through our church, through worship with my fellow church members, through reading His word, I have grown in indescribable ways.

My mind, though it betrays at times to things of this world, has never been so hopeful and free.

When you realize that you are a child of God, sent to be a steward, delivered from evil and sin, were made flawlessly in His image, were washed clean by the blood of our Christ who died for you on the Cross, you realize that your enemies cannot hurt you.

I remember being a rebellious teenager who thought that she could take matters into her own hands. I didn’t believe in God – at least I told myself I didn’t. I lost all hope and faith. I didn’t want to be in this world anymore, but I was too afraid not to be in it as well. I cursed the Heavens and I took out my anger on anyone and anything. I was miserable and felt alone, even when I was surrounded by friends.

I went on like this for quite a while. I didn’t know what to do. Then a moment came. You could say it was somewhat supernatural, something that would be scoffed at and said to be coincidence. But it was my turning point.

I was standing in my shower, crying. I had had a terrible day, one that seemed never to end. I felt worthless and hopeless and all I could do was stand under the hot water and cry. I called out, through my tears, I asked God for help. Mind you, this was unusual for me at that point in my life. I asked God to help me with these difficult times and to make it through. Suddenly, the lights in my bathroom shut off. A couple of seconds, maybe 4-5, passed, and they switched back on.

I was in shock and quickly finished my shower, wrapped myself in a towel and ran down to my parents. I immediately asked them (they were watching TV in the living room) if the power had gone out for a couple of seconds, to which they answered no. I was shaken. I was afraid, I will admit.

You see, the power in their house either goes out all together or doesn’t. There is no way the second floor of the house would lose power and the floor beneath it wouldn’t. From that moment out, I made a conscious decision that that occurrence could not have been coincidental. It couldn’t have been!

Now, did my life change overnight and did I hear the voice of God himself? Not at all. God is not a magical wizard, He does not grant wishes like Merlin or Genie. Instead, He gave me grace and strength and courage to deal with what I was going through. He gave me a sound mind and faithful heart. He gave me a purpose and never ever left my side, especially in my most difficult times.

God uses the broken and the sinners to do incredible things. Since the moment I detailed above, I have believed in the power and presence of God and his Son, Jesus Christ. Now, I have been growing in my faith and am joyous to say that my husband is joining me in that journey.

Skeptics will scoff and laugh, they will taunt and ridicule because that is the only way they can feel self-worth. By hating someone for being a believer and looking toward the world for happiness. Enemies will try to pull you away from the grace of God and His only Son because they are afraid. Yet, one that is saved cannot be thwarted while God is with them.

God is good all the time. He has made us all perfect in His image and loves us all exactly as we are. I am so happy to be part of a church who teaches to Pursue Life in Christ, for it is the most important thing.

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Dreams

Do you ever feel as though the life you’re living isn’t the one you are meant for? I feel that often. Growing up, I had great dreams of the future and how my life would turn out – as we all do. I thought I’d be content and happy with the person I was with, it would be a fairytale romance. I thought I’d have a job that made me love what I do, one that I’d jump out of bed and be excited for on the daily. I thought by now I’d have gone on vacations and trips with friends that I’d known for years. I thought I’d be pregnant by now, or had a child. None of it has come to volition. 

I was told early on in my life that I would never be happy. Unfortunately, that so far has been the truth. Mostly I believe my unhappiness stems from unrecognized high hopes and discontent. I look at my husband a lot of the time and feel nothing. No happiness, no fun, no love. Our past has definitely shaped our present and his attitude has changed to the point of me not even wanting to be with him. I wonder a lot whether I should leave, whether my initial feelings for him were just fleeting and whether I rushed into marriage because I’m afraid of being alone. Then another part tells me that it’s not true – that I do love him and would be lost without him. That he’s my true other half. But there is only so much a person can take. I want to have fun, talk about anything and everything again, do things that don’t cost anything and enjoy ourselves. It seems like a far-fetched dream.

By now I figured I’d own my own home. A cute cottage home or a Victorian (my dream). Yet I am currently renting an apartment with my husband, sister-in-law, and her children. The house never stays clean and I’m the only one who ever cleans it anyway. I feel as though my hard work is often for naught because no one helps me maintain anything. I never wanted to rent – especially not for this long because I feel it’s a waste of money. There are rules and regulations: you can’t paint the walls, you can only have two pets, you can’t plant any sort of flowers, don’t make too much noise, etc. I can’t wait to save up enough for a real house. Although even that nowadays feels foolish. For a house, you should have kids, no? Sometimes I want to save all my money and just go on vacation all the time. That would be fantastic! Again, just a dream. 

I look on the bright side as much as possible though. I have food in my belly, money in my bank account, a roof over my head, and people who love me. That’s all I can do – look on the bright side and find the silver lining. 

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I had a fantastic time growing up. Why? All thanks to my parents. They always have been my fiercest advocates. I’ve grown up knowing what life should be. Their expectations of me were never more than I could accomplish, and I think that’s the biggest reason that I am now a successful and well-rounded young adult. While other kids were playing in the park, we had our own pool. While other kids were going to Florida to spend time with their grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc., I was sent to Switzerland and Hungary to spend my time with family. I was always extremely lucky to have the experiences I did growing up. I feel that it gave me a cosmopolitan view of the world. I had the opportunity to become who I am today because of my parents. I cannot thank them enough.

So what’s with the above photo? Well, since I have “left the nest” and gotten married, I feel more weighed down than anything. I look back on old photos and cannot believe how much time has passed me by. So many times, I am not even sure where all the time went. I’m not able to recall what I’ve done in those days/minutes/hours/weeks/months/years that have passed. Pictures are my friend and my enemy. They are bittersweet reminders of the past. I know you’re supposed to look back on old times and feel happy…although I think the best explanation of that bittersweet feeling is from Inside Out. Most memories are tinged with sadness because they are moments in life that you will never get back or experience again. I definitely feel that way about a lot of my past.

Time does not travel faster than a day at a time, but those days seem to flow away like the ocean retreating from the sand. I try to live my life to fullest, however, I don’t feel as if I am nowadays. What I imagined for my life is a far cry from what I received. Man plans, God laughs. Each day that passes seems to me like wasted time. When I am at work, I feel like I am wasting my life away for money that I don’t get to use for fun things, but instead for bills. When I am home, I sit in front of the television watching shows about people I don’t know, doing things that are much more interesting than my day-to-day. When I go out, I don’t want that time to end because it feels like the most I’ll be able to do all week due to employment and other responsibilities. I realize that maybe I am not normal, that maybe my brain chemistry is off kilter and I might need to go see a psychiatrist…but I don’t want to be medicated into a stupor – not knowing what I am doing and when for the rest of my life. Talk about wasting time. If it were up to me, I’d always be traveling. There is nothing more enjoyable to me than travel. Seeing new places, eating new foods, meeting new people. That would be my living life to the fullest experience. Time travels on and we can’t be stagnant, we need to move and change and enjoy our lives. We all need to live our lives to the fullest because we all only get one.