“Loved”

His fingertips are lightning bolts; reaching out for impact. Each flash of light is contact and it shakes the planet. His voice echoes for miles and if it weren’t for the trees, we’d all be wiped out. But these electric bolts aren’t limited to destruction. They cut hearts to change them, and burn bad habits like fire at the butt of a last cigarette. His hands surround a single orb of life in a galaxy of dead globes and we’re alive because of Him. He breathes over space like a whisper with the force of a thousand hurricanes. He says, “I’m here,” and for the first time it feels like all of creation could explode into a million stars and it would be alright. He is the Alpha and the Omega. His will cannot be stopped. The greatest reassurance for this speck of a being that I am, is that He sees me. He sees us. We are loved.

Gratitober: Entry 20

20.  I’m grateful for technology.

There are definite ways to abuse technology but considering all it allows us to do, I’m pretty grateful. For example, social media and email lets me stay in touch with my family from back home. My gramma and I can have video calls wherever we are, whenever we want, and give quick hellos every day. Technology also allows me to get inspired by giving me access to Google! I can learn all kinds of things, even from websites like YouTube and Instagram. I’m also grateful for the technology that provides good transportation. Cars, busses, trains, and planes, all allow us to explore new places in a matter of hours, and see all of the beautiful things this world has to offer. Being able to get around is huge for connecting people from all around the world, and helps us to be more open minded, accepting, and appreciative of the qualities that make each of us so unique. There are many reasons why technology can also be a bad thing, especially if we get consumed in it and don’t take time to explore other areas of life, but generally I think tech is intended to make communication and transportation easier. It’s meant to expand our reach and allow us to do things we never could before. I’m grateful for that and I wonder what other advancements I’ll see in my lifetime…

Gratitober: Entry 7

7. I’m grateful for long weekends.

It’s Thanksgiving weekend, finally, and Gratitober has made it through its first week! Hooraayyy, someone bring me Oreo cupcakes! Focusing on something I’m grateful for every day has helped me be more conscious of my thoughts, and shaped my perspective in a positive way. It’s also been helping me push through some tough emotional battles. Thank God. I’m so excited to write and share with you all the other things I’ve been thinking about for Gratitober.

Weekends are supposed to be for rest, but here I am writing at 7:00 am going on six and a half hours of sleep… “Why ever,” you say? Ask my body! I’m excited about the fellowship this weekend, reflections on life, my cousin’s wedding today (weeoooo!!!), and recharging by staying in bed past 5:30 am! I love long weekends. Some of my favourite things I’ve done in the past were camping trips, family time, road trips to my friends’ cottages, going for long drives in the boonies, and visiting friends. Going away is nice, but it’s also nice to stay put and spend time with people we love. This Thanksgiving is going to be unlike any I’ve had in a long time… aaaand as we speak my left index finger is not cooperating cause she works harder than anyone else on this keyboard, clearly!! I know, it’s a sign… I need coffee.

I think I’m going to make an “appearance” this weekend, to introduce this blog series and encourage someone else to pick up this fun thankfulness project thingy and start keeping their own gratitude journal! So stay tuned for that sometime this weekend :). When it’s up I’ll link it below so check back heeeyyyaaaaaahh… I’mmm TIRED. lol. *puts music on… gets adrenaline rush… survives* xD

Hooooooooope you all have a wonderful weekend! Whether you’ll be competing with your dad on who can eat the most turkey and mashed potatoes, having this one awesome day out of months of bad ones, or styling your hair just right so that you feel like a million bucks, have a great one. What things are you grateful for this year?

The Profound Mystery of Grace

Every day we are bombarded with ideas and the older I get the more I realize progressive society wants us to safeguard ourselves from the intentional or unintentional harm of others. It’s grown to be part of our natural human reaction to pain and disappointment. Scroll through Instagram or Twitter and the majority of perspectives on forgiveness are… well.. you wont see any. That’s because the progressive voice of media is focused on making us believe we are void of fault and everyone else is our enemy. In a time where autonomy and self-preservation are the norm, forgiveness is seen as naive and even a foolish response to harm.

Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.

-Luke 17:3-4

This is only one of the statements Jesus made on the subject of forgiveness. He even went as far to say that if we do not forgive our brother, He will not forgive us. (Matthew 6:14-15) Most of us find the first part of this verse favorable. We relish in the idea of correcting someone and taking them out of their troublesome ways. We like to fix people and we take pride in being able to provide someone the help they need to make their lives better. But see how quickly Jesus moved on to say “if he repents, forgive him.” He doesn’t just want us to correct our friends but to forgive them, even when they do it over and over and over again, and even when they don’t ask for it. See, there is no limit on how many times we should forgive someone, and there are no conditions on whether we should or not either. Jesus doesn’t offer conditions such as “if she gets professional help” or “if he brings you nice gifts and makes you a lot of promises” or even “when she says sorry.” He just tells us to.

Kindness has more power than resentment.

This is the profound mystery of grace: Jesus asks this of us because this is how He forgives us. Whoa. Really? But isn’t he going to punish me for my mistakes? Isn’t he going to expect me to follow all His rules perfectly? How many good works will I have to do to earn it? That’s the thing! There is nothing you can do to earn your forgiveness. It’s free. He just gives it. No questions asked.

When someone comes to you asking for forgiveness, it takes a lot of humility and courage. It’s hard to be honest with ourselves and with the people we have wronged. Speaking it aloud makes it real and sometimes the risks are terrifying. When we step back and look at the big picture, we can see ourselves in both roles at various times in our lives. We see times where we wanted forgiveness, and times when we wished for it.  Even when forgiveness is painful, it’s also our path to peace. Holding grudges make us bitter and hardens our hearts. Built up bitterness makes us skeptical of people and makes us hard to love. Forgiveness takes a lot more strength than rejecting someone for their mistakes, and it actually makes our lives a lot happier in the long run. It sets us free.

…on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.

-2 Corinthians 2:6-8

Moving On After A Bad Breakup

As soon as you read the headline you were probably already thinking about that time when you had your worst breakup. Or maybe you’re thinking of a horrible story your best friend told you about their ugly end to a long relationship. It’s taken me almost two years to write this and to be honest it feels strange digging it up again because it’s been so long but I would regret never writing this story. It’s a sad story, that happens to more people than I ever imagined. And you need to know that life gets better — because it does.

Let’s dive in.

(Heart) Breaking News

It was a Thursday afternoon at work and I was browsing through Facebook when I noticed the little red “2” bubble hovering over my “Other” Message Box.

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I opened it and quickly skimmed a message from a girl I’ve never heard of before. She asked me if I was still with my boyfriend at the time because she’d been seeing him all summer and some sketchy stuff was going on. The second message was from a different girl, whom I also did not know, asking a similar question. Wut.

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It doesn’t really matter how you found out, whether through your ex, catching them in the act, or from a message by the third party(ies). It just flat out sucks to discover the person you thought you knew all this time was capable of such a horrible series of actions. The pain I felt was unlike anything I ever felt before. I felt utterly betrayed, confused, exasperated, disappointed and mortified. It took a while for the shock to pass and I had a hard time deciding how to deal with it and where to go from there.

The Lurking / Mourning Stage

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Cheating is probably one of the worst causes for a breakup but how you deal with it is an opportunity to let the experience either ruin you or mold you. As with any break up during this social media era, it takes a lot of self-control not to check their profiles for updates, or hack into their emails to see what they’re up to. In fact, lurking their blogs or Twitter feeds does you more harm in the end. The truth is, you’re not going to get anything but bitterness when you find out your ex is either still fooling around, or depressed and remorseful. Nothing can change what he/she did to you, and honestly at this point, it’s not about them anymore — it’s about you.

Avoiding The Reckless Search for Temporary Fixes Stage

There are two ways you’ll handle the breakup. You’ll either run off and mess around, get wasted at parties, and binge-watch Netflix to make yourself forget, or you’ll find healthy ways to deal with it that, although slowly, will help you rebuild your self-esteem and rediscover your value. Although the first method might seem to work for a time, you’ll still have those nights when you wake up at 3:15 AM thinking about how it used to be, and what happened to make him/her do that. You’ll still have broken relationships because of unresolved trust issues. You’ll still doubt your worth because you’re not showing the world what you stand for. This is why this stage is best to avoid… so those things don’t happen. Instead, focus on how you can grow from this… which leads to my next point.

Be Like A Phoenix

I love the concept of a Phoenix (all my fellow Harry Potter fans, HOLLAAAA). The idea that the mystical bird must suffer intense burning from flames and ash just to be reborn and transformed is what happens to us after dealing with any crisis in life. We can either remain a pile of ash and never regain our hope and confidence again, or rise up, even though it hurts, and become something more. Romantic love might never seem the same again — your whole understanding of true love, trust and honesty was just crushed. But that doesn’t mean that perspective can’t be repaired. The future can get better. It doesn’t mean people are garbage. It doesn’t mean there is no hope for your future and it doesn’t mean you’re not worth better. Because now you’re stronger. You have a great story of healing and accomplishment to write and share. You’re going to inspire and encourage. You’re a Phoenix reborn.

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Rediscover Your Worth

I joined the gym a month after the breakup. It was a healthy and fun way to rebuild my self-confidence. I started a journal to get my feelings out on paper and read articles on positivity and healthy reflection. I reunited with old friends and went out more, and that’s a good thing! Don’t sit around in your room, get out there, catch a movie, go to the drive-in, walk around the community, get a gym membership, pick up a hobby, host a BBQ or potluck, reunite with old friends and embrace new ones, build relationships with people you can trust, spend time with your family, be with people who love you! There are so many other amazing relationships for human beings to experience and you owe it to yourself to discover or revive them. Plus, this is a chance for you to learn about who you are. A cheating ex has no power over your present or your future. Instead of looking back and dwelling on your pain, look forward at the freedom you’re about to experience! Appreciate who you are because you are a treasure and it’s going to get better. You’re full of beautiful qualities that you should discover, embrace and be proud of.

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Set Your Standards High

Seriously do this. Sit down and write down a list of things you expect from your future man/woman and a list of the things you won’t tolerate. (Be reasonable of course, no one is perfect!) Read it over a few times then put it away. Doing this will give you a picture of what you believe you deserve from someone and it also refreshes your mind when you are ready for a new relationship. Setting your standards high will help you find someone you can count on, and who is as much a treasure to you as you are to them.

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Embrace Peace (and Forgive!)

I know you’re angry, I sure was! Having your trust broken whether it’s from a relationship, friend, or family member, can really damage you and have a lasting scar that takes years to fade away. But one way you can get that wound on the road to recovery is to forgive. Yeah… I know, why should you? Sometimes forgiveness is more about your healing and peace, than their removal of guilt for what they did. When you forgive you prevent what they did from holding you underwater. You can move forward, let the past go, and slowly work to regain your trust in people, and your confidence in yourself.

I’ve made the mistake of rushing into a new relationship after being hurt, as if replacing the person would help me forget. But you need to give yourself time to deal with and accept what happened, find consolation in your friends, and spend time taking care of yourself and working on your healing. And who knows–maybe one of those friends will become someone you can grow into a meaningful relationship with! Once you hit rock bottom, there’s nowhere left to go but upward. 🙂

 

Retreating into Goderich

Last year around this time I went with my sister, her boyfriend and his family for a mini-getaway to Goderich. We stayed at Cedar Lodge and spent the day sight seeing and shopping along the main road. The trees were in full blown sunset shades and I was cozy in my warm knit sweater. It was a tough time in my life but this getaway was the beginning of something.

I purchased a thin leather wrap bracelet with the Serenity prayer on it. I tried to memorize it in my head as we watched the sunset and I prayed for healing and peace. One year later I can truthfully say I have that peace I prayed for — my Heavenly Father cradles me safe in His love and promises. Even though I don’t know what the future will bring, He does, so I choose not to fear it but hope for it.

I don’t think it’s naive to be optimistic, or to dream, or to believe in great, powerful things. Focusing on hope leads us to hope. We go where we look. Sometimes life throws unexpected misfortunes at us and often we sink to unbelievable lows, but that’s not the end of the story.

Turn the page :).

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Love Doesn’t Actually Hurt Though

People say love hurts and love is pain but I don’t believe that’s true. Love is the unshakable, unmovable, unstoppable force that drives people to do good, to make sacrifices for the betterment of others and to overcome the most earth-shaking tragedies.

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The reason for this hurt and pain is not love, it’s reality. Life, unfortunately, is not a fairy tale. You don’t always win the heart of your first crush, one mistake can ruin years of friendship, a university degree does not always guarantee a job, buying lottery tickets every week does not guarantee you’ll ever be a millionaire. We’re faced with hurt and pain because evil exists and it’s everywhere. Love is the force that sustains us, keeps us, guards our hearts and gives us hope. Love keeps us believing things can get better, love encourages us when negativity starts to wear us down, love restores, repairs and revives. Love gives new meaning to life when previous ways have failed us.

Don’t allow bitterness from the disappointments of this world to grow inside your heart and don’t let a bad attitude and negative thinking prevent you from experiencing love and joy in your life. Take control of your thoughts, make active choices about who and what you invest yourself into. Remember love is not the criminal; love is the hero. When life gets tough, and it will, remember this: Love is the only thing that will get you through to the end of the road!

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