2 years

A great friend of mine I went to high school with, died two years ago today. It was a Thursday night, we had just gone to the MTSU library and dinners at OleCharlies then she was headed to the football game. It was a rainy day and she lost control of her car, was flung out, the car flipped on top of her, she was killed instantly, Everyone gathered at the school library that night. It is a tragic night I will never forget, and do not want anyone to experience. One of the worst nights, and weeks of my life.

Since then, I have learned some things:

1. There isn’t really a right or wrong way to grieve. No rulebook exists. I remember finding myself arms crossed, observing, not crying.Then I realize, I’m standing with all the guys… looking at all the girls sobbing in the middle. Maybe I should try this crying thing? I did. I don’t really know if it helped. I have learned nothing is wrong with me, if I don’t cry. I am still a girl, my women hood is not ripped from me. However, I am also still a strong human, even when I cry. Have a healthy perspective on tears. Let yourself feel.

2. God can handle you. Your anger. Your tears. Your questions. Be honest with him. Be honest with yourself & others. I remember saying I’m not mad at God, but I wanted to know What’s next? What now? I think it was true that I was not mad, but I was hurt. I felt really hurt and I blamed it on God. But, because I felt guilty or shameful for that. I was never honest and it just slowly calloused my relationship with God. So. Be Honest with God. It’s worth it.

3. Although yes… The 27ths of months are iconic & for some the worst day. I still have random moments that are harder. That’s okay. I have never been to her grave since the day we buried her. I do not think I will for quite some time. Other friends have been there often. That’s okay. I still call her number randomly to hear her voice mail. I write short and sweet FB posts. Her mom posts long ones and the Noelle paints every sunset. Everyone grieves differently. Have grace for yourself, have grace for one another.
4. I expected Noelle dieing to just bring so many people to reality, and in that reality people would meet God. That was my hope! They would leave partying, yada yada, and realize there is more to life. That looking in a casket of our friend, that we saw living and laughing yesterday would make us stop. Then they would meet Jesus! That would give meaning to Noelle’s death. Then there would be purpose. But guess what, that did not happen. Her death did not cause a revival of our senior class. In fact, I do not even think it caused any one to come to the Lord. I do know it caused some serious heartbreak and maybe pulled some further. I do not know why Noelle had to die at such a youthful and young age with dreams of college, teaching, and a family ahead. But, I do know. God does not waste anything. Although I didn’t see tangible salvation results… God does not waste the evil that happens in this world.  Through Noelle’s death, I grew a whole heck of a lot. I could have sat in it for years, however, I gave it to God. Lies that I believed about God, have now been revealed through sweet and great truths.

5. Life is a precious, valuable  gift. Do not ever, take it for granted. I remember watching the cars leave the football game that… I realized they had absolutely NO idea what was going on. The world just kept going without her, even when my world was completely paralyzed. I could not do a thing. I planned a candle vigil for Noelle…. There is still candle wax on my gloves from that night. But really what did that do? Afterwards, we all drank hot chocolate and laughed again. Life. Goes. On. There is a choice whether to join again or not. I wanted to fix it, change things so badly. But I could not. There was nothing I could do. I think that place is often the worst. I want to be okay with that, and remember. sometimes. you cant do anything. Sometimes, my world will stop. But, keep on going.

6. Through this process. I learned one of my favorite questions… My pastor asked me…”Anna, if God could do a miracle in our life what would it be?” My answer.. not that Noelle would come back, or that she had not died… But that God could give me a literal hug. A sweet, strong, patient hug. I look back and see the times he tried to hug me but I refused. I see the people he put in my life that I could have leaned on. But, I would not accept it. I am now still learning to experiencing this hug, 2 years later. To allow Him to love me. To believe that he loves me. Even with my questions, doubts, and hurts. Even with the lies I have believed about him.

I have some learned some other things, I could organize these thoughts much better, I plan on sharing/tweeking later, but for now… That is it.

321201_2537417641700_1577593102_nNoelle and I at our homecoming game a few weeks before when I was on court. Goodness,  she was such a treasure. I am so thankful for this picture. Noelle wanted to be a teacher. She was and is a teacher. She has taught me a lot and is teaching me a lot. You are missed. You are loved.

Running in Circles

I’m so forgetful, but You always remind me
You’re the only one who brings me peace
You’re the only one who brings me peace
So I come, Lord I come I come, Lord I come
To tell you I love you
To tell you I need you

To tell you there’s no better place for me than in your arms
To tell you I’m sorry
For running in circles
For placing my focus on the waves,not on your face

You’re the only one who brings me peace
You’re the only one who brings me peace

In the storm In the storm

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=foVRP07WOAg&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DfoVRP07WOAg

+++ How many times do I run in circles? +++

The Arena

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. – Teddy Roosevelt

Be in the arena of life. Don’t just be a fan or a critic. DO.
It is a choice we must make. Why do I so often sit out and critique, what fear keeps me sitting? What would my life look like if I got out of the arena?

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Dash

It is getting COLD. Walking to class this morning and it was bitterly cold. The grass was frosted for the first time, and I felt like it was just starting at me saying “winter is coming.” I don’t mind winter really, it is just the adjusting part is not so easy.

For example,
Yesterday, I did not dress properly for this weather in shorts and a long sleeve t-shirt… I had been sitting in my car for quite sometime now just sharing life with a friend. We cozily had the heat on talking away for hours. It was finally 1:00 AM when I drove and parked back at my dorm. I needed to go to sleep!

But. I sat in my car alone. For another ten minutes. There was no need to stay in my car, but I was dreading the cold that I knew would invade. I knew the moment I turned off my car and opened the door, 34 degrees would call every goosebump to attention. Chill would swallow me. I was warm, and comfortable, and safe in my car. I even considered just sleeping in my car. However, finally mustered up enough courage and did a 200 yard dash to the warmth of my dorm. I then crawled in my bed, under the blankets, and sweet dreams it was. 7AM came to quickly

My time in the car got me thinking. How often do I stay in the car when a warm room is awaiting. I just fear the 200 yard cold dash? If I slept in that car, I would have been cold when I had to go inside in the morning, wasted a lot of gas money, and woken up with some mean neck cramps. It would have been awful.

Getting out of the car, and running to something better is so worth it.  Do not settle in something because of the fear of the next step. Although the fear and dread is real, do not let that win. Sleep in your own bed! The outcome is worth it.

 

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My Grandparent’s House

Fall break is HERE. I am EXCITED.
I just wanted to COME HOME.
I havent been home all semester and it is GOOD TO BE HOME.

I literally packed in ten minutes, and ran out the dorm.. I did not care about anything else. I needed to shower, but I did not care. I should do some other things, homework/work/SGA meeting.  I was just ready to go home! So I went. I left at 4:00 PM on Thursday. I needed to be HOME IN TENNESSEE.

When I finally made to grandparents in Kingston, TN at 9:30 PM. It was a tremendously sweet moment. It was already dark and I came late. I came exhausted, sick, and weary. School had worn me out. I didn’t carry anything in, I just parked and went straight to my grandmas hug. It was a hug I had been looking forward to and craving. I was in a safe place of restoration and love.

Although Mimi teased me a bit, she did not care one bit that I had greasy hair and no makeup on.  They did not care when I got there, or that I interrupted the show they were watching. They did not get mad that I did not want to talk forever, or that I did not go clean or help with the computer.  Mimi had made a bed for me, and Pops gave me  food. They just loved me and told me to go sleep.

Our God does the same thing! He is always waiting with a loving hug. It does not matter the time, or what he is doing. He takes our burdens. He feeds us and gives us rest. He does not care what I did yesterday. If I have clean hair and makeup on. He sees me for me. I do not have to be perfect. I do not have to do anything for him. He just wants to be with me.

I love my grandparents. Their house is my favorite place to be.

afterlight

Called

I love this song. Our God is a God that does not force us into things. He is patient and kind, not overbearing or manipulative. He is a God that never makes me feel trapped. He is a God that gives me the option.

And, I could.  “I could just sit and hope to feel His presence, I could stay right where I am. I could hold on to who I am and never let Him change me from the inside. I could never let these walls down.”  I could. There are days where I am so tempted to just sit. To just be average, to take the back seat. There are moments when I crave to just be lazy and stay the same. There are moments when I just wish doing the right thing didn’t matter, where I wish I did not care.  There are times when I just want to ignore my problems, and never be real. It is SO comfortable. It is SO much easier.

But. I just can not do it. I can’t! Because He has called me higher. He has called me deeper. I hear this calling and I know I would never be satisfied with anything but him. I would always be let down. I want to step out of the safe zone, I want to let go.  I want to be where the Lord takes me, whereever it may be. Although it is harder, it is worth it. Although it is way more uncomfortable, it is worth it. He will be my strength and my comfort. I thank God that I can hear that. I pray that he would keep calling, and I would keep hearing.  I pray that I would listen in action and follow Him.

He is calling us all deeper, and calling us all deeper. We can just sit, we can just stay. He is patient, understanding. However, He is calling us. It is worth listening.

I could just sit
I could just sit and wait for all your goodness
Hope to feel your presence
And I could just stay
I could just stay right where I am and hope to feel you
Hope to feel something again

And I could hold on
I could hold on to who I am and never let You change me from the inside
And I could be safe
I could be safe here in Your arms and never leave home
Never let these walls down

But you have called me higher
You have called me deeper
And I will go where you will lead me Lord
You have called me higher
You have called me deeper
And I will go where you lead me Lord
Where you lead me
Where you lead me Lord

And I will be Yours
I will be Yours for all my life
So let Your mercy light the path before me

Seasons

Today was the first taste of winter, windy cold and grey skies. I think I am okay with it.

I had breakfast this morning with a treasure of a friend. It was a sweet time of catching up and sharing. Talking about life and seasons, the twists and the turns, the ups and the downs, the dreams and the hurts.  Through this conversation there was a sentence that really stuck out to me, a sentence that I believe will stick with me. “No season is ever perfect.”

How true. Both in reality and metaphorically. Summertime is extremely sunny, blue skies, and green grass. However, it brings whole lot of sweat and demands A/C. Fall is rich with colors and crisp air, but it is freezing at night and burning in the day. Make up your mind fall!  Winter although it has potential snow and christmas time joy it is dry, cold, and somewhat lifeless. WInter demands you bundle up and drink warm drinks. Spring means lots of new life and flowers, however it rains all the time and is still really cold. No season is ever perfect.

No season is ever perfect in our lives either. So often I compare the present season to another, and think “Why can’t it be like that again.” Childhood as free as it is, can be painful and tragic. Teenage years as thrilling exciting as they are, can be dangerous and scaring. College years as wonderful as they are, they are quite difficult. Being married, having kids, working a job… none of these seasons are perfect. Some of these seasons will be better than others. Some seasons are extra difficult. But ultimately not one of them is perfect.

Im learning to see both the great and the not so great parts of this season. Im learning to be okay with grey skies and cold. I am remembering that our God is God who wastes nothing in each season. He works it all out. I am choosing to trust God, to appreciate every imperfect season. I think there is a lot more hope and life in that, then there ever is in having everyday be a perfect fall, blue sky day. I think I am okay with it.

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