keeping the Son in my eyes

memories, stories and revelations through my walk with God

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It only took a moment

For me to realize how much I miss you.

for me to figure out that I don’t even have a single picture of you in my house.

For me to wish that I had written down all of your stories.

For me to see that you made an enormous impact on my life.

It only took a moment, seeing someone who resembled you, for memories to come rushing back, and with them, the heaviness in my heart that you’re gone.

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It’s like eight different necklaces that are all tangled up.

Or old fashioned shoe laces stuck in a tight knot.

Or a fist clenched so tight the knuckles are white as ice.

It sits in my core and overwhelms my mind.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

It’s all I can do to keep the tension from driving me mad.

So I sit…the wheels in my mind spinning so fast, but they’re stuck in a plethora of slick, muddy puddles, as I cling to the hope that the sun will soon dry them up.

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Confidence.

That’s it.  That’s my word for 2013.  I cannot tell you how incredibly nervous I am that this is my word…which defeats it being my word altogether.  However, last year…God definitely began growing me with my word THE NEXT DAY.  

So, confidence…Why confidence?  

If you know me at all…it really wouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I fear a lot.  I mean, a lot.  I’m not one of those people who has a lot of different phobias like fear of spiders and snakes and trees and monkeys and wind.  However, I am legitimately afraid of tornadoes, heights, and birds.  That’s not the point.  Those really aren’t the fears I’m talking about.

I used to think my biggest fear was tornadoes.  I would have so many nightmares about them, getting taken away in them (yes, kinda like Wizard of Oz but less exciting), people I loved being killed by them…it was just awful.  But after having a conversation the other night about what my word for this year was going to be-because I still had no idea-it hit me.  My biggest fear is not tornadoes…it is something else, something that consumes me way more than my fear of natural disaster.  

I am ridiculously afraid of not being or feeling loved.

I fear that by disappointing someone I love or making them angry, they will leave…they won’t be there anymore.  I let emotion begin to rule me and my fear takes me into awful places of sadness.

So, as I was talking with someone who I deeply love and trust, I told her this.  (As if she didn’t already know…)  But I told her and it was then I knew that the opposite of fear had to be my word for 2013.  This fear and others that relate to it have caused me significant pain…and even avoidable pain because it was brought on by myself, by my own thoughts.  So, I know that this is not where God wants me to live…he does not want me to live in fear.  

2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Because I know God wants to change me.  Because I know that I am not where He wants me to be.  Because I know that my fear and lack of confidence hold me back…I will be living with confidence this year.

I will be confident in…

My God because he is who he says he is, he is the almighty King, the Creator, and I am His daughter…a daughter of the king.

Myself.  Because I am a daughter of the king.

The trust I have in certain relationships with others…because they deserve it.

His word.

And so much more that I’m confident God will continue to reveal to me.

2 Corinthians 3:4–5 - Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.


Jeremiah 17:5–8  - “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,whose confidence is in him.They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.It has no worries in a year of drought    and never fails to bear fruit.”

Hebrews 10:35-36- 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 

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Of course, a look back…

Good gravy, as I sit here and think about 2012 and everything that happened…I cannot even imagine how I am going to capture the incredible happenings of this past year.  But, I have to attempt…

My January-May was spent mostly focused on wedding preparations and student teaching.  I was absolutely busy, busy, busy!! I don’t think I miss this part of the year…but so much had to be done.  

I also experienced my first big car accident. Memories still flash in my mind when I think about it.  I have been told many times by one person in particular that I am very lucky to be alive.  She also said that 87% of accidents that are a result of falling asleep at the wheel are fatal…which means I’m in the 13%.  I still can’t believe that happened…and who rushed to make sure I was okay.  

I got my wisdom teeth taken out and looked like a chipmunk for DAYS.  I was so afraid that my cheeks wouldn’t go down before my wedding…which was weeks away.  And I only sent a picture to ONE person.  I looked awful.  But I am thankful for those who helped take care of me and speak truth into my life in those moments…even if it wasn’t so well received.

During my student teaching…I was in charge of an entire Relay for Life event at Nelson Middle because my host teacher was absent the day of the event.  Good gravy, I never knew I could encounter so much stress.  But it went over well, and everybody seemed pleased.

I graduated from Liberty University…magna cum laude.  But, I didn’t walk.  I was still just as proud of myself when the diploma came in the mail. 

I went dumpster diving with my very best friend.  It was quite an adventure, and I will definitely be going again. :)

I packed up all of my stuff and moved in with my best friend.  I had a week that I will never ever forget with messages on the mirrors, rejections from schools as I was job searching, and so much more!

Let’s see, what else happened in May?  Oh yeah, I got married…on the beach…barefoot! :) I am married to the love of my life…and have been for about 7 months.  Incredible.

My sister moved back to the east coast!

I went to Nicaragua on a youth mission trip.  Definitely one of my most stretched by God moments this year.  

God provided me with a job for the summer…and then, he gave me the perfect job for the year.  I am so thankful to be a teacher, even though it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  

I survived the Lynchpocalypse.

I went to TWO 80s parties. :) And decided I have definitely been born in the wrong decade…

I went to a women’s retreat…and felt God move even more.

I had two birthday weekends…one of which was spent in Charlotte with the very best friend I’ve ever had…the other of which, my husband cooked an incredible meal for me all by himself AND I got to spend it with more of my friends!

I got to spend Thanksgiving AND some of Christmas with my sister and her family for the first time in what seems like forever!  

I had a very special first Christmas with my husband..including our first real tree together! :) 

And there are so many more things, both big and small that happened in between all of these that I just cannot do the year 2012 justice.  

I learned so much this year, I cried a lot…laughed even more.  But, most of all…I began to trust.  This year I finally opened up…and that, has been what has made the year one of the best I can remember.

Here’s to 2012 and all the memories it holds, despite the lack of photographs…and I cannot wait to see what 2013 brings.

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blua:

Doug Perrine captured these stunning photographs in the Maldives. The particular location (Vaadhoo Island) has a concentrated population of bioluminescent phytoplankton. Bioluminescence is a natural chemical reaction which occurs when a micro-organism in the water reacts with oxygen. When washed ashore by the tides, the phytoplankton’s chemical energy is turned into light energy, illuminating the waves.

I just love that God has created even the smallest of beauties.

(Source: mydarkenedeyes, via mrmitchellt)

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I am a perfectionist…but I’m failing.

But, the sad part is that I used to believe that maybe, just maybe, I was pretty close to perfect in a lot of things.  Lately, all of that seems to be falling away and the truth is coming out.

I am walking a hard line between figuring out how to realize that I’m not perfect at everything and not beating myself up for the things I am doing wrong.

It could be the littlest thing, the tiniest thing…and I make it not only into a big deal, but also about me.  Even when I attempt to do something nice for someone I love, and it blows up in my face…I make it about me.  I start to think, “Well, of course I screwed that up too…” and I spiral downward from there.

I guess I don’t know how to tell the difference anymore…how to be okay with criticism, but not criticize myself to the point that I feel hopeless.

And I guess it may have to start with figuring out what it is I can be good at, and giving God the praise for giving me those gifts.  I have got to STOP being selfish, and start making my life about HIM.  

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In the end,

there’s only ONE thing that fills this space. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord, God Almighty. Who was and is, and is to come. So thankful for a God that loves me, chases after me, and cares about every detail.

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I used to get so angry

and say I didn’t get it.  I swore I would never understand.

But as I sit here, I too feel the raging war going on between my head and my heart.  The one thing I want to turn to is what I know I need to stay away from.  The one thing I know I need to turn to, seems too hard.  

Easy route, instant gratification?  Or should I choose the hard, heart work?  The path that is most grueling but in the end most rewarding.

I hate that I’m here.  I hate that I’ve even let myself get in the position to choose.  I hate that I am listening to these deceptive thoughts.

But they keep going.  And I keep listening.

Lonliness is the one thing that increases their volume.  And here I sit…

alone.

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My own commencement.

Today my friends and fellow classmates will walk across a stage declaring their academic victory. Not me. My life is packed up in boxes as I sit here looking at the bare walls that know so much more than anyone else.

Why am I not walking? Why am I not joining my peers in this ceremonial festivity that makes them feel accomplished and makes their families proud?

Because I am growing up in a different way today. Throwing away childish things and transferring my life to a new house…with my soon to be husband. A week and I will leave my parents and cleave unto him forever.

Besides, I would have only walked across that glorious stage for your recognition…to hear you say you’re proud of me for my English with teacher licensure degree I will receive magna cum laude. Since you haven’t given any acknowledgement of my achievement, I guess I won’t hear those words of approval from you.

So I will move these things of mine in preparation of my life to come, that seeks to honor you, not focus on your acceptance.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. "

Matthew 5:6 NIV

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I used to think

that you’re leaving did not affect me.  That I was not shaken by your hurtful actions.  I missed a friend, but that was all…I just had to bask in the memories.

I used to think that I was right, but I was wrong.  I’ve realized now, you left a scar on my right atrium.  So slight, but ever so deep.  Leaving me to fend for myself to try and trust another, besides my one true friend.  Instead of trying, I built walls around myself so that I would not be wounded again.  But, I’ve had enough.

I’ve missed out on an incredible friendship, awesome experiences, and people who are more trustworthy than you.  

I hate that it hurt this much and took so long that I had to miss out on so much, but I thank you for helping me realize the value of true friendship.  I will not take it for granted.