Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why Yes, I Went Pink: My Rose Colored Glasses

I did something today....something brave and bold, something I love...I dyed my hair pink. For a lot of people changing their hair doesn't mean a whole lot. For me, I usually change my hair because I have a part of myself I want to express, or because I have always felt feelings could be mirrored in colors.
According to color psychology (yes that's real), the color pink " represents compassion, nurturing and love. It relates to unconditional love and understanding, and the giving and receiving of nurturing. " My oldest niece has a book she loves called I Like Myself Because I'm Me. I don't know that I have ever felt that way.
The Bible says Love others as you love yourself. If you don't love yourself then the way you love others will be tainted with struggle and pain.
I have found myself in a new season, a season of tears, growth, frustration and an undying peace. As I thought about it I realized part of the reason I struggle with loving myself is that I am not myself. I have been so scared to be who I really am because I always felt like I had something to prove. And you know what? I don't. Jesus loves me, my family loves me, my friends love me, and finally, finally, I love myself.
I love being bold. I love pulling things off other people are scared to try. But most of all, I love that Jesus loves me. He knows I will ALWAYS want to change my hair, I will always love the idea of having lots of tattoos and piercings even if I can't have any more. He knows that as much as I run from anyone with nurturing and compassion, that is exactly what I need.  He knows me, and He loves all of me.
So, I went pink because there is no hiding pink hair. I went pink because I will no longer run from love and nurturing. 
When my loving older brother said "Oh! Goodness why on earth did you go pink?" I lovingly reminded him of his words to me "When it comes to your hair, you don't care if anyone else likes it, you will pull it off if you like it."
So, in all honesty, this pink wasn't about anyone but me. Me finally expressing who Jesus made me to be. Bold, loving, courageous, steadfast,
Me feeling like enough in my dependence, my tears, my broken, Me discovering my inner glitter. Because honestly, I had forgotten what inner glitter feels like.
The fact that BerkleyLove's eyes got huge and she said "Aunt Sarah I LOVE your hair it is my favorite color," was just a lovely bonus.
So here's to life in all of its pink hued glory. It just hit me that my soul sister prayed I would have "rose colored glasses," I suppose pink hair is one way to do that :)
Here's to the life I have chosen, Jesus has been good enough to give me lots of glitter! Thank you all for loving me through this journey

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Freedom: Being Thankful for My Brother and Sister in Law and a Declaration of Dependence

 I have struggled to write this blog because I don't even know if I have the words. Nevertheless, this part of my story deserves to be chronicled.
If this journey has taught me anything it's that freedom has levels. And every time I think Jesus couldn't possibly make me feel any more free, He proves me wrong. Sometimes Jesus sets us free from prisons we don't even know we are in. I have always wanted to live without regrets but until this month I would have said that it wasn't possible.
It's been a crazy rough road. I never even thought I would live this long because my soul was exhausted, and my heart was scarred. Even after Mercy, I lived in self-protection because I was always scared at any moment these memories might be snatched from me.
During my Mercy journey, outside of my parents my brother was my biggest supporter. After Mercy, I asked him if he thought all this change was temporary, he said "Don't take this the wrong way but something happened to you, you're not the same person."
The past 5 years I have clung to those words. Stepping on campus, on the bus, back into church, every time I take a chance and am scared to be vulnerable I remember I am not  the same person.
That reality was fully revealed to me when yesterday morning I woke up and thought "I am independent enough."
Never in all my 26 years did I feel like that were true. And, so much of this realization came from my conversations with my brother and sister in law over the past year.
I always thought independence meant being alone. loving people but not letting them love me back because that might mean I needed them.
Geoffrey told me this independence was selfish because Jesus gave us gifts to share, and if we are not sharing we are sinning. I had never thought of my desire for independence as a sin.
Geoffrey and Sarah have shown me that independence can look different. It can look like having your own time, but knowing sometimes you need time with other people.
Independence can look like love that is unconditional, truthful, consistent and grace-filled.
Independence looks like love without regrets. Because love means I want to help you, not that I have to. 
The main difference in me is that I  have nothing to prove. Not to my family, not to my friends, not to Jesus, not to myself. I. Am. Enough. I am not perfect, but I am enough to be loved, and there is such peace in knowing that.
I still have a long way to go but for the first time I feel like I can be free from complete, isolated, independence. This, my declaration of dependence, on Jesus, on family, and friends, has never felt so wonderfully worth the risk. I will never regret loving, wholly, completely, dependently, because I am independent enough.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Life is Like Cleaning Out Your Closet-You Never Know What You're Gonna' Get

Pardon the Forrest Gump reference, Sometimes I wish I could turn off my brain but I can't...thus today's post.

As I cleaned out my closet today I came across all sorts of things. Bows I forgot I had, pants that no longer fit and random papers with notes I had long ago forgotten writing. I hate cleaning. I hate throwing things away, I hate how messy my normally clean room looks when I am attempting to organize what I actually need and what is I really need this...whatever it is crap.

As I sent my mom a picture of the chaos that my room had become, I couldn't help but become reflective. Getting rid of jeans that were two sizes too big made me remember when I had to buy them big just to be able to button them on my own.  Re hanging my glitter tops made me realize just how much I have always loved things that sparkle.

And I couldn't help but think life is a lot like cleaning out your closet. There are some parts of it you wish you could forget. Some ripped and tattered things you wish weren't in there. And there are some you wish you could hold onto forever. That skirt may not fit anymore but I sure felt comfortable in it once. And that jacket I'm supposed to wear makes me super uncomfortable but I probably need to give it a chance. In order to make room for new clothes you have to get rid of old ones.

Life is like that. In order to get whatever God has for me I have to let go of whatever I'm holding to, even if it is something I absolutely love that isn't what He has for me.

I had all these dreams. I was going to move to New York, or Africa, or Kalamazoo,,,anywhere but here. I was going to be independent....completely. Just me, a subway station and a random Russian novelist, and it was going to be great. It became my go to daydream.

As I cleaned out my closet today I cried. Because I don't daydream anymore. Not because I don't want too, but because I don't know what to dream of, I don't know what I want life to look like. And as I cried, I felt the Lord whisper, "Finally! Finally you are completely you. Vulnerable and strong and happy and hurting all at once. Finally you are living, not just existing. And finally, finally you can stop dreaming your self-protective, self-destructive, dreams and ask Me for dreams.

And it hit me, only a handful of times in this entire awakening process have I asked Him. really truly asked Him what I'm supposed to dream of. Because I'm scared. I'm scared He will call me to stay when I want to go, or go when I want to stay. I'm scared He will ask me to engage instead of isolate and share myself instead of mask myself. I'm scared, Because I finally see my life is not mine. I gave it to Him. 

And He dreams bigger than I ever could. I know it.  And right now, let's just be real, I am a hot mess.
But as I thought about it I realized, I have a choice.

I trust Him, or I don't. I took my vows to Him seriously, or I didn't.
So today, I choose Him. I choose His dreams over mine. I choose life and blessings even if it means laying down everything I ever thought I wanted.
And tomorrow I will choose Him all over again.

And there will be tears and anger and questions and "What am I thinking?" moments. But there will also be "This is everything I never knew I always wanted" moments.
Life gets messy before it gets beautiful.
So here's to making a mess

Friday, February 13, 2015

This is What You Fought For: Awakening

In two months it will be 5 years since I graduated from Mercy Ministries. I will never forget the heartbroken girl I was. Using my hat to cover my tear filled eyes, my ripped jeans a reflection of my ravaged soul. I was there because all I could think was "I just want this to be over. I just want to stop hurting. I just want my life to be finished" I felt like I couldn't breathe. But Jesus wouldn't let me give up.  I was there for 6 months.
6 months that would forever change my life.

This month has been one of the most difficult I have ever experienced. As I cried the other day, mourning all of the unexpected moments, the surrender of staying in Abilene for an extra year, the closing of a chapter in my life I wasn't ready to end, the constant soreness and emotional exhaustion of CP I begged the Lord to come bring comfort and I heard Him whisper one thing...

This is what you fought for. 

I broke down on my sister in law and some sweet friends the other night because I didn't feel independent enough, and because I had no idea what it was to be this emotionally vulnerable.
I feel like I spent the first half of my life sleepwalking because I was scared. Scared to feel, scared to want, flat plain out scared.  My sister in law asked me "What is it you want from life?"
I realized I never thought I would live this long so I didn't know. The wounded little girl in me thinks independence on an island somewhere completely alone sounds pretty great.

The woman in me knows God is calling me to something deeper...greater...scarier. I am not the little girl I was, and even though I knew it would bring change, I wasn't ready for what choosing life would mean.

It means that independence isn't always a good thing.
It means I care deeper, I love more, I mourn differently.
It means my family matters, It means as my sister in law reminded me "You are definitely a daddy's girl." It means I finally know just how much my mama loves me, and it breaks my heart that it took me this long to understand.
It means I would lay down my life for my nieces without thinking.
It means when other girls hurt, I hurt with them.
It means I remember what it is to cry so hard and for so long you can't breathe....only so that when other people cry like that I can tell them about the glorious gift of Life.
It means for the first time ever I am asking myself (and Jesus) what I really want to do with my life because as a friend pointed out to me, perhaps the whole independence thing isn't what I actually want, and perhaps if I am honest I'll figure that out.

It means I am...awake,

Being awake is scary. My heart is intensely vulnerable because for the first time ever I am not shielding it, I am letting Jesus protect it instead.
So even though I have been crazy sad in some ways lately I can't help but remember, this is what I fought for.
And I wouldn't do anything differently.
Here's to being awake,

Isn't life lovely?