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Over the past couple of months, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and dreaming. For most people, this is a very exciting process. For me? It takes a minute. Everything is internal. If there’s something on my mind, I can guarantee you I’m playing out the scenario and every possible option/outcome that may or may not happen just to prepare myself before I’ll allow anyone else to be a part of the decision…and usually, at that point, the decision has already been made.

I do realize the problem in that is we were created to be relational. Part of relationships is allowing people to see the parts of yourself that aren’t perfect. I’m not saying that I want or need to broadcast every bit of my life to everyone, but I think it’s only healthy to allow people to walk through life with you in an intimate way. I’ve got a bad habit of allowing people in to my life who will say and do things to make me feel good, but won’t call me out when I need it. Clearly, I can handle the rest on my own. (That was sarcasm, just incase you missed it.) I’m so fortunate that God has plopped some pretty influential women (mostly northerners, go figure) in my life who not only encourage me, but push me to be the best version of myself possible – and in that, it’s time that I get back to what’s on my heart: high school students.

If you’ve read this blog at all, you’ve probably caught on to the fact that I was abused as a child. It’s not a secret, but for the longest time I lived like it was. That pain, that damage caused me to do things that I regret and created a skewed and septic self-image that sometimes still is hard not to believe. But God, with all of his humor, has given me influence over High School students for years. It’s so funny to me that while I was one of them, I knew no one could ever know who I truly was and what I’d been through because I would end up having to eat lunch in the bathroom because of the shame. Yet now, the pain, the hurt, the confusion are all tools to show that God can take the ugliest and most disgusting things about ourselves and use them to show others how He can restore, renew and revive a life! It wasn’t until opening up to my girls in my parents’ living room two Christmases ago that I was truly able to be free…and let them know that they are not alone or solely defined by what has happened to them.

Recently at Cross Point, we introduced a song to our congregation. These are the words that consistently echo in my head:

He lavishes such love upon us. He calls us now His sons and daughters. He’s reaching out…

We each have a story. We each have a history. I’m not going to say that I would have ever asked for mine, but I also can’t imagine where I’d be without it. To be able to be used for good despite what has happened to me is the most overwhelming gift I could have ever received. I am so grateful.

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You’re reading the last part of my 30 (ish) day blog challenge. Here’s what you’ve missed so far:

Day 1 — Your best friend – Rachel
Day 2 — Your vices – Just Read It
Day 3 — Your parents – Barry & Carla
Day 4 — Your siblings – Barry & Daryl
Day 5 — Your dreams – I’ve got lots
Day 6 — Someone that inspires you – Stacey
Day 7 — Your job – Work in progress
Day 8 — Your favorite internet friend you’ve never met – Stephanie
Day 9 — Someone you wish you could meet – George W. Bush
Day 10 — Someone you don’t talk to as much as you’d like to – Alyson
Day 11 — A deceased person you wish you could talk to – Papa Jim
Day 12 — Your dream vacation – Italy
Day 13 — Something you look forward to – Sundays
Day 14 — Someone you’ve drifted away from – Marci Marie
Day 15 — The person you miss the most – Sarah Kelley
Day 16 — Someone not in your state/country – Mallory Gilbert
Day 17 — The place you wish you were from – Port Neches
Day 18 — The person you wish you could be – Erica
Day 19 — Something that makes you different – knowing who I am
Day 20 — Your favorite TV show – Criminal Minds/Law & Order/How I Met Your Mother

Don’t worry…I’m alive. I’ve decided rather than drag this series out any longer (because it’s clearly lasted way longer than 30 days), I’m just gonna power through the next 10 topics and be done. So, here goes.

Day 21 — Someone you judged by their first impression
That would have to be my best friend Kate Carlson. It was maybe my third week attending Cross Point and she was up on stage leading worship. I knew instantly two things: 1. I’m not cool enough to go to church here. and 2. she and I will never be friends. Now, on any given day…if you need to find me, I’ll either be at work or hanging out with Kate. I hope you get the pleasure of meeting her. She’s seriously a huge light in my world and constantly challenges me to pursue Christ in a whole new way…and not by any other way than how she lives.

Day 22 — Your pet peeves
Easy. Loud chewing, mouth breathers, the metal part of the eraser on the pencil scratching a surface, obnoxious baristas, people who hide behind smiles, cats, needy people (not people in need of benevolence, people who are only looking for what they can get from you), and I’ll stop there.

Day 23 — The last person you kissed
His name is Justin. But what’s more interesting than the last person I kissed is the last 8 I’ve kissed. 7 of the last 8 married the next person they kissed. The 8th is about to get engaged. Just call me Good Luck, Chuck. I’ll be here all week.

Day 24 — The person that gave you your favorite memory
That’s a tough one. I have so many amazing memories that I can think of. But I would have to say it was being on hurrication in 2003 with my cousin Erica. For sure.

Day 25 — A life changing moment
June 4-10, 2004, I attended my first Young Life camp at Malibu in Canada. on June 9th, I finally gave my whole heart to Christ. I could take you back there and show you exactly where I was sitting. Such a special place, such a huge day!

Day 26 — The last person you made a pinky promise to
That would be Kelsi Fulton. We were both working too many jobs and didn’t have any sort of life, so we made a pinky promise to each other that we would quit our unnecessary jobs. I did…she did not. Boo.

Day 27 — The thing you most enjoy doing
There’s a lot that I enjoy doing. My job, spending time with my friends, driving, shopping, singing (in the shower…because trust me, you don’t want to hear that), researching for the perfect dog, and so much more. But more than anything, I love getting to stand in the back and watch my friends shine. I seriously have the most talented friends and I’m so proud of all of them.

Day 28 — Someone that changed your life
That would in no doubt be my mentor, Jess. She took a very young (and obnoxious) Texas girl under her wing, showed her the ropes for the music business, gave her all sorts of opportunities, allowed her to live in her kickass house, and so much more. I’m sure that I put her through hell, but I’m so thankful for the influence that she has in my life. And now, she’s a mom! I’m so excited to see her raise up a beautiful baby girl! 🙂

Day 29 — Your talent
I’m really talented at making situations awkward and falling in love with people who are horrible at expressing their emotions.

Day 30 — Your reflection in the mirror
That’s a tough one. I tend to only like my reflection on certain days. Days when my hair is just right or my eyelashes look exceptionally long. I have a horrible self-image, in all honesty. I’ve battled with eating disorders and not being healthy. It’s a hard thing to ever recover from. But for as many hard things I’ve been through that I would never wish on anyone, its the imperfections in my reflection that show the life I’ve lived so far. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

So, now that that is done, we can move on to lots of other things. I’ve got a lot to say…but I’m sure you do, too. Thanks for sticking with me through this.

little birdy told me…

Recurring Thoughts

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