September…

The past few months I’ve been searching for my perfect ending. Wouldn’t it be so nice for me to be able to write this post and tell you that everything has worked out? That I’m successful, healthy, happy, and maybe even that I love someone? I’ve always been a fan of happy endings, so why wouldn’t I be trying to find my own? I’m not writing this to tell you I’ve found my happy ending: no, I think I’m writing to say something very different.

Back in April, I wrote that I was under renovation. I told you that I was being worked on by God, that I needed love, but that one day, I would be perfectly healed, physically and mentally and spiritually (but mostly mentally).

And I think I lied.

Sweet souls, I am slowly learning that I will always be under renovation, and you will be as well. Maybe not as drastically as the walls getting torn down, foundation being shaken, and pipes exposed kind of renovation, but babe we will always be changing. We will throw some new paint up, re-arrange the furniture, and do deep cleans all. the. time.

With depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD (basically everything I get to fight against every day), I will have to spend my entire life staying healthy and balanced and under renovation. God will always be healing me, always be working on my little heart. And guys… He is so good at it. He really is. But I’m not going to sit here and lie and tell you that it’s any easier to go to Him now than it was this time last year or 8 months ago or 6 months ago or even 6 weeks ago, because it’s not, because this is what depression/anxiety is in my world: it’s no longer believing in yourself or in Him. It’s both not knowing and not believing in what makes you special. When my depression takes over, the confidence I work every day on disappears in the dense fog that surrounds my mind. You try to keep moving through it, but you can’t see where you’re going anymore.

It’s waves that crash on you so hard, you’re positive that you’re going to drown. And when you try to swim upwards for air, you find yourself so disorientated that you don’t know which direction is up. And when you have both depression and anxiety at the same time, it all doesn’t add up to feel like loneliness- it feels like too little and too much all at the same time.

So… what do you do to cope? How do you manage to live a life you’re proud of, when you barely want to live? How do you let yourself get worked on and let your problems get worked out?

I think I’m slowly but surely learning that these things I’m fighting against (read: depression, anxiety, and every other diagnosis written on my chart) is not a battle, but a war. There are days when they win, and the enemy gets into my head and leaves me wrecked. There are also so many days that the Lord overwhelms me with His presence and lightens my heart. But I know too many people who see a disproportionately high amount of bad days compared to good ones.

To those of you who see so much darkness I say this: keep pushing.

Keep going, because I am here and that is proof that there is more out than just bad days. There is so much more. There is light and there is love and there are people out there who need you.

Yes, It has been a long road.

Yes, there have been too many late nights when I question whether or not I should still be on this earth.

We are not perfect and we are never going to be perfect, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t special and we have to work on realizing that. Depression makes you feel like you aren’t exceptional, and that this world doesn’t need you, but I promise you that you are extraordinary and that the world does need you. This world needs your light, and even when you feel like you’re barely shining, you are still out there disrupting the darkness. A heart that is fixed on the Lord, even during the hard moments, will still shine for Him. You still shine, even when you can’t see the light you’re giving off.

Take it from someone who has been there…one day, someday, things will look brighter. Life is not one dark cloud, but an entire sky of bright prisms thrown off by the sun and the clouds. You will see rain when you’re hurt, light when life feels good, and storms when your emotions are overwhelming. You will feel the wind when your path goes off-course, see the stars that light up the darkness, and the darkness that chases after the light. Just because you have seen more rain and felt more hurt doesn’t mean that you will never see the sunshine… in fact, I think you should always hope for rays of light to burst through your window each morning.
Right now you might be healing and hoping that your wounds will become smaller and smaller. They will, but there will always be a scar, a reminder of what has happened. Don’t view it as a flaw, but as a chance to turn pain into something beautiful. Use your brokenness to reach out to others and help them through their own hurt. Carry around your scars like you carry around an accomplishment, because they are a special kind of accomplishment.

They show that you have made it through a dark time. You are making it through a tough time. And one day, should you go through a dark time again, you can rest in the knowledge that you are a survivor. So live like one. Survive.

Go out into this world with hope, knowledge, kindness, purity, and a heart that is willing to love again. Love the friends who will make you coffee when you can’t find the energy to get out of bed. Love the ones who will race over without hesitation to pick you up off of the bathroom floor and hold you when the world feels like too much. Love the people who never give up on you, even when you’ve given up on yourself. Love the people who did give up on you, because everyone deserves love.

Maybe right now it feels like you’re out at sea sailing in a ship that wasn’t fit for the waves surrounding you. They’re crashing around, pulling you down into the water.… But sweet soul, I promise you’re not drowning. You are loved and and you are needed and you will be okay.

And to you, whoever you are:

Maybe I don’t know you. I probably don’t know what you need. But I do know that I am not able to offer it all. I have small shoulders, small hands, but I have a big heart. So when I inevitably can’t heal your pain, I will still hold you close and cover you with the word love. I will hold your hand when you are on top of the hills, and hold you close and help however I can through the valleys. I will remind you that life is beautiful and life is painful and it is worth it to go through the pain sometimes, because in the fire we are oftentimes changed for the better.

So walk through the fire and know that I am there, but remember to then walk through the water. Give yourself permission to be a hurricane or a sunbeam or whatever you need to be. Never forget to look in the mirror and see the words “fiercely loved” across your body.

There are many things I can’t promise right now, like giving too much of myself, but I can promise that I’m looking at my life and fighting for the good things, like you. I have an unwavering belief that we all deserve good things, beautiful things that will change our lives forever. I promise that I will chase the beautiful things, run after the person I want to become. I promise that I will fight for you through every stage, and I hope you will run beside me and choose to chase happiness as well.

Here I am: a girl who who is in constant state of healing. And although my life looks different than what I thought it would look like when I wrote that post in April, I am discovering that it’s exactly what I wanted it to be. I am becoming the person I always wanted to be, a person who is honest about herself and the things she excels at, and also the things she really is not good at.

I am stubborn. I refuse to give up on the great things, even when there have been so many bad. I am passionate. I will chase and wonder and search and change on the journey to find the life I am meant to live.

I am forgetful. I will forget wrongdoings and choose people who historically have not chosen me.

I am human. You are human. We make mistakes, we spend entire days in our beds, we cry, we scream, and one day, we’ll die. But if we let all of those things + many others hold us back, will we ever find happiness? Maybe in a smaller scale, but you were never meant for a small life.

You were meant for a big life, a life filled with your own grand bravery and love too large to fit into a book. A big life doesn’t mean you become a big person in this world to everyone, but to everyone who loves you. A big life can be chasing your precious babies around. It can be serving people across the world, or across the street. It can be a job you worked your butt off for. It can be anything… everything. You determine what makes your life big.

But what I want more than anything, is for you to promise yourself that you will never stop looking for the beauty, never stop chasing happiness, and never give up on the life you work for.

I’m finally learning how to be myself, and how to become are person I’m truly proud of. I feel as though almost everything about who I am has changed, but in reality I know that God is refining me. Before grace, we were unclear and blemished. Grace looks at us and chooses to change all of that, turning us into the version of ourselves God has created us to be. Moments where you need that grace are not always easy. Life has not been easy and most certainly has not always been kind, but it has shaped me into a person who is willing to accept that not everything is going to be good. But I am also a person who will hope for the good in all she sees, and I won’t give up on believing that life is still amazing. You have to look at the bad and choose to seek the good in it no matter what. Life is going to happen… you’re going to hurt and there will be tears. But emotions aren’t scary, and you should never be afraid of feeling. You are enough, more than enough despite the belief that you’re too little and life is too much.

One of the most grounding things I have told myself over the past 4 years, but especially over the 8 months is that I was  given a yesterday, today, a hope for tomorrow, and a life beyond this humanely shell. And when I remember that, I cry because I know that one day, I will be so incredibly happy.

I will be so far beyond that happy ending what I was searching for the past few months because I don’t know if that happy ending is what I want anymore. I don’t want everything to work out and for me to stay the same for the rest of my life. I know I would be happy, but some part of my soul would never be satisfied with a version of myself that stays the same (especially if it is this version of myself), and what I should be constantly working and pushing and stretching for is the ultimate happy ending… Heaven.

Until that day when I stand in awe and amazement, I will open up to the renovations. I will accept the change. I will understand that the leaves will change and snow will fall and flowers will grow and the sun will shine, and I will go through seasons as well. There will be seasons of growth, hurt, pain, beauty, happiness, and a million other incredible and life-changing things. If we weren’t built to change, then why were we magnificently created by God to replace every cell of our skin every 35 days? Here’s what I’ve forgotten the past few months about God and how He works…God loves through any mess that we believe we own. God is not afraid of our darkness. He does not give up on our hearts. God will love you through your mess. He will fiercely love you, despite the lies that you tell yourself-the lies of insufficiency and unworthiness that crowd your thoughts.

He loves stronger than a hurricane, deeper than an ocean, wider than any open space. He is not the God of mediocre love: He is the God of extravagant, overwhelming love. This is the kind of love that you can’t outrun. The kind of love that isn’t afraid of your darkness. It is the love that will still be there when you find yourself in the middle of a mess with no idea how to make yourself clean again. It is the love so many of us wish for, but will never find in a human heart.

God created the mountains, the night sky, sunrises, and oceans. The beauty of the world is His love letter to us. He doesn’t look at you with anger, seeing every mistake that you’ve made. God doesn’t keep a record of your sins that He tapes on your back in order to keep track of the things you’ve done. He looks at you each day with fierce love and pride for His wonderful creation.

Sweet soul…. Sometimes it hurts to breathe because this life is just so beautiful and I’m so grateful that God has allowed me to live it. And I cry every day, not because I lack, but because grace is lavished upon me, and I think that’s the most lovely thing. Depression/anxiety makes it hard for to see the beauty in renovations and change and your foundations getting shaken, but the enemy and fear and doubt DON’T get to win because Jesus already won y’all. He won the whole dang thing.

Changing and loving and running towards the light,

Em

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