Saturday, April 27, 2013

Patients and Patience

Today was a very. long. day. 
I had two classes in the morning, worked my usual 6-hour shift at my normal job, and then had just enough time to run home, eat dinner, change into my scrubs, and go to my volunteering shift at the hospital (which I got home from at midnight). 

It wasn't an easy shift, either - we had a psych patient (which is always interesting) and two others who were just extremely difficult. Looooong night pulled together in one statement: it was exhausting

One of my patients in particular really tested me. 
She wasn't an awful person, or anything - she was older, quite confused and disoriented, and she kept getting up out of her bed and wandering around her room. Which usually wouldn't be a problem, except that she was a fall risk patient, so every time she got out of bed an extremely urgent-sounding alert would go off in the nurses station to let us know that she was up. So I would have to rush in there to make sure she didn't fall down or rip her IV out of her arm, because she would forget to take her IV pole with her while she was walking around. And then, depending on what she was doing, I would have to follow her back and forth around her room, because she was insistent that she did not need to stay in her bed. 

It shouldn't have been as big of a deal as it was - I mean, it's my job to pick up extra slack for the nursing staff and for the other patient care techs, and this woman was definitely adding on extra work. But it took me to the very limits of my capacity for grace. On the outside, I spoke to her respectfully and courteously and patiently; on the inside, I wanted to scream! She wouldn't listen to any instructions that I gave her or comply with anything that I asked her, and she kept trying to dismiss me from the room. Trust me, if I could have just walked out and left her to her own devices, I would have. 

And the more time I spent just trying to get her back into her bed, the worse I felt. I started out just feeling frustrated and impatient, but the more I dwelled on my irritation, the more I started to feel all of the other negative emotions that I have been firmly rebuking for the past few weeks come creeping back. They rose up inside me like a huge wave that has been building and building, slowly creeping up to the shore until it is big enough to crest and, in a great display, crash to the shore. I felt angry, lonely, abused, disappointed, bitter, anxious, betrayed, confused, lost, forgotten. 

And it scared me. I haven't felt those things for weeks - I have been so focused on laying those feelings down to the Lord and trading them for his peace and patience and humility and grace. But as I practically wrestled with my patient tonight, between her IV pole and IV line and tele monitor wires, back and forth between her bed and the bathroom and shutting off alerts and making sure she didn't fall, I clearly recognized the wrestling that was going on in my heart. I could see the enemy swooping into a moment of vulnerability - just a teeny bit of frustration - and capitalizing on my weakness to bring me down in a huge crash of overwhelmingly negative emotions.

But God was there, too. And He reminded me, so so sweetly, that He has already given me victory over those things! My precious Father has already redeemed me from my brokenness - He fought the fight for me. And won it, by a landslide. 
So even though all of those horrible feelings came rushing back in an instant, 
even though I remembered how terrifyingly painful being overcome by those feelings was, 
even though I literally wanted to burst into tears, 

I didn't.

I just let God's victory be real in my life. I know He already overcame this brokenness and devastation for me. So I named each one of the negative emotions I was feeling, laid them at the foot of the Cross, and asked for peace. and patience. and grace. and humility. And God met me right there, in my patient's hospital room, and poured those blessings over me. For once, my situation didn't control my heart - God's heart for me gave me freedom

How marvelous, how boundless, is His perfect love for me. 
And for you. Yes, you!

"Ask, and it will be give to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." - Matthew 7:7

Sunday, April 21, 2013

New Strength

This weekend was so incredible! I went with my sweet friend Steffanie (whose adventures you can follow here) to visit her family in Sierra Vista for the weekend, and although nothing particularly extraordinary happened, it was such an adventure for me. Getting out of Tucson for the first time since my breakup was more than a welcome change - I've felt so boxed in lately, going through my routine and trying to feel normal in my day-to-day again, that going somewhere different was such a great feeling. It was nice to not be reminded of my ex by every single place I went or every single thing I saw - to be in a place that was completely detached from anything having to do with him (which, of course, is not the case with Tucson!). 

Something I did reflect on a lot while we were there, spending time with her parents and sisters and doing normal/weekend/family type things, is the new part of this season that I'm in. I'm finally past the grieving, mourning stage of this, and now I'm stepping into the adjusting part. The acceptance has come, but I'm still in this awkward acclimation phase... I tweeted over the weekend that being completely cut off from the person you talked to all day, every day for a year and a half is one of the weirdest things to get used to. And that's one of the biggest things I am struggling to get used to - this huge absence of communication.

It is sad, but mostly, it just feels strange to wake up without good morning texts and to go to bed without saying goodnight to the person that I love. It feels strange not to tell him where I'm going, or that I've gotten there safely. It feels strange to get excited about something, and to want to tell him, but to not be able to. And to know that if I did tell him anyways, he wouldn't care. It feels strange for the person who was my best friend for almost two years to not be a part of my life at all, so abruptly. 

Of course, there is still pain. Even if my situation hadn't been as complicated as it was, even if it had been the cleanest, friendliest, easiest breakup in the world, it would still hurt. But I'm learning to have grace for myself in feeling the pain and in moving forward despite it, and I'm so thankful for the incredible people in my life (like Steffanie) who have continually shown me love and grace in my situation. I feel so determined to continue to live my life fully, to not focus on all of the things I'm missing out on. To keep pursuing the things that are set before me with passion - I've always been a passionate person, and I'm so thankful that my heartache hasn't changed that! And this weekend was a huge step for me - to do something different, to spend time with different people, to go somewhere different, and to truly enjoy every moment of it. To be present, even though my heart is hurting. To allow myself to be blessed by what I have and where I am right now

I was so blessed by Steffanie and her family this weekend. We share a similar cultural background, so I always feel right at home when I'm with them, and it is so lovely to be welcomed into their family and into their home. It almost felt familiar, which, when nothing in my life feels normal anymore, is a huge blessing. 

I think that's what this weekend was all about, really - God showing me his blessings. God has been faithfully showing up in every aspect of my life, and I am so, so thankful that I serve a loving God who, even when your heart is broken and it seems like everything has fallen apart, meets you where you're at and reveals His promises to you. Today in church, Steffanie's family pastor talked about Isaiah 40:27-31, and it really is so true in this time of my life - God has been my strength in a time that has been so emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally exhausting, but His strength is made perfect in my weakness. He is giving me the strength to emerge victorious from this mess, and I will continue to put one foot in front of the other with that strength! And that comes one small step at a time, like spending the weekend with a dear friend and her family. :)

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint. - Isaiah 40:31

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Musings on the 16th - April Edition

Today, April 16, would have marked 20 months of my relationship. 

I don't say that forlornly - it is sad, yes, but my tone as I write this is really one of amazement. Amazement at how, even when you think you are certain of how things will end up, they often turn out  more differently than you ever could have imagined. 

I never would have guessed that I would ever be in this place. I never fathomed that my relationship would end, that the most important person in my life would become just someone that I used to know (excuse the cheesy song reference). Someone who just nods when we see each other in passing... someone that I no longer share even my plans for the day with, let alone my hopes and dreams. 
It truly is astounding how radically things can change. How quickly things change.

And it's also incredible how God fills up those sad, empty spaces with beautiful things.

It's almost paradoxical, really - although my romantic relationship ended so abruptly and disastrously, all of my other relationships have flourished. Profoundly. I feel closer to my family (even though we still talk to each other the same amount as before), and my friends have come alongside me so strongly and sweetly and I feel so, so blessed. God is allowing me to pour into the same quantity of relationships that I had before, but I think now He's really driving home the point of quality. Two friendships in particular (one, my best friend, and the other, an old roommate) have blessed me so much, and I am so grateful for these women that God has drawn up in my life to walk through all of this craziness with. While I didn't neglect these relationships before, God is bringing them to a focal point in my life, and it is incredible to feel so content in this place, with these people. 

Although I feel that I have lost so much, I don't feel - by any means! - that my life is any less full. And that is truly such a gift from the Lord.

...I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. - John 10:10

Saturday, April 13, 2013


This says everything.

Friday, April 12, 2013


A lot of things are hard.
Being single again is hard. Read: being single is not as hard (for me, at least - I wouldn't assume that my struggles are the same as someone else's!). I loved being single - it was a really fun season and I have so many great memories from that time! Being single again is hard. It’s hard to redefine your former “we” as now just “me”; it’s hard to fill your “we” time with “me” time or with “them” time and not feel like something is missing. It’s also hard to remember that that gets better with time, and hard to imagine that there is something better than what you had.

Breaking old habits is hard. Breaking old habits that you loved is harder.

Missing someone is hard. Missing someone and knowing that they’re probably not missing you is harder. 

Change is hard. Moving on is hard. Dying to yourself, dying to your desires, giving up the things that you are passionate about and dreamed about and hoped for… so hard. 

Following Jesus when things are going great is easy. It’s easy to trust in God when everything is going smoothly, grandly, just how you want it to! But we are human, and we naturally resist change. So much of that comes out of fear, and so much of it comes out of our selfish natures - we want what we want, when we want it and how. It’s just how we are. And that makes this so, so hard. In my head, I know that God has a plan and a purpose- and a more beautiful one than my own plan for myself, at that! But in my heart, it is hard to lose and to let go and to move on from something so big. 

But I am thankful that I don’t have to do these things on my own. It’s not my strength that enables me, but a strength that is much, much greater. I am thankful that I don't have to be stuck in this place, that as hard as it is, I am constantly moving forward. There is grace for me in these struggles, and new mercies come every morning and I reflect on new victories every evening. And it’s all because of the miracle that my God, who knows my every fault, flaw, and failure, loves me, and my heart finds rest and strength in Him to take each new step on this hard, hard journey.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. - Philippians 4:12-13

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Little Blessings

Today, it is a beautiful, breezy, clear, cool spring day. Absolutely gorgeous outside. The kind of day that, two months ago, would have made me want to twirl around, arms outstretched and face upturned, heart swelling with joy.

One of the ladies I work with, a really lovely woman with a special heart for students, took me to lunch at a delightful little French cafe today. We sat outside in the shade, ate crepes and eggs Benedict, drank tea and watched tiny little sparrows hop around in the dirt. It was, for lack of any more perfect word, lovely.

So even though my heart didn't swell with joy today, I am so thankful. And I feel so blessed. For the first time in a long while, I actually remembered what joy feels like- my heart has been so heavy with sorrow that for a while, I forgot what it's like to feel joy. But as I sat at our table at lunch, I knew I would feel it again. Soon.

Today was a huge step for me - for the first time, I was able to discuss my breakup and the loss of the first love of my life without feeling grief, without feeling anger, without feeling confusion. There is a wistfulness, to be sure, a longing, as there always is when you must let go of something that once was beautiful but now is dead. I think I'm finally starting to move out of the season of sharp, intense pain, anger, and grief and into a season where wistful smiles replace tears, where careful curiosity of what is to come replaces the gripping terror of facing an uncertain future. 
I'm slowly, steadily making my way out of this dark, tangled, scary forest into a clearing. A clearing where I can breathe again, where I can re-acclimate and become myself again before turning about myself, making a decision, and moving forward down the next path into something new. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

This Is My Story

This song has been one of the biggest encouragements to me this past week. Every new week that I walk through in this season presents so many challenges, but I am so thankful that God uses things like beautiful friends, trashy tv shows (yes, God even uses Carrie Bradshaw to speak truth into my life - somehow!), and incredible songs of worship, praise, and encouragement to lift me up in this darkness. 

I so look forward to the day when I can look back on this period of my life, walking completely free from the brokenness that fills it, and sing this song as a declaration of the victory that I will find at the end of this road. Every day that I submit to the Lord is a victory, indeed, and I know good things are coming - and until I no longer struggle under the weight of my current circumstance, I DO declare these words over my life, and I rejoice that God is faithful and always there.

Ever since that day
It's been clear to me
That no matter what comes
You will never leave
I know You're for me
And You're restoring
Every heartache and failure
Every broken dream
You're the God who sees
The God who rescues me
This is my story
This is my story

Monday, April 8, 2013

Rainstorms and Remembering

So, it's raining outside. And even though I've been doing such a great job lately of pressing on, moving forward, accepting my situation and not letting the sadness overwhelm me, this stupid rain checkmated me.

As horrible as all the things that have happened lately have been (this situation really is my own personal horror story), somehow in this moment, listening to the rain smack against the pavement outside my lonely little apartment, I miss him. And I'm remembering all of the beautiful moments in our relationship that happened in the rain... and because they're beautiful, because once, our relationship was beautiful, I want to share some of them.

The very first conversation we ever had (which happened to be on Facebook) happened during the very first Arizona monsoon that I ever witnessed. When the rain had calmed down, my roommate and I went outside to dance around and play in it, and he told me that was the most adorable thing he'd ever heard of.

At the very beginning of our relationship, when everything was still magical and unbelievable and new, he surprised me at my house with my favorite coffee. During a monsoon. 

Once, I showed him my bucket list, and on it was "kiss in the rain." (Cheesy, I know). Later that evening, we went to Chipotle for dinner (one of our favorites), and when we came back out, it was raining. And he kissed me. 

Those are just a few, but aren't they beautiful memories? I hope that someday, I can remember them with fondness instead of with grief. And I hope that it stops raining soon. 

Love and War

They say that all's fair in love and war.

But how is it that overnight, love turns into war? That your best friend can become a complete stranger? That your biggest supporter can become the person who cuts you down the most?

This is exactly what happened to me. And, from what I have experienced throughout this process, all is NOT fair. Ever. 

It's not fair to be treated without respect or compassion after a long-term, committed, serious relationship ends.
It's not fair to be thrown to the curb. 
It's not fair to be given up on, when you would have never given up yourself.
It's not fair to have to be the one who feels all of the pain and all of the loss.
It's not fair that something that mattered so much to you is discarded so easily..  
It's not fair to have to be the one who suffers, and for someone else to get to enjoy all of the things that you poured into passionately. 
It's not fair that your dreams are the ones that die, that your hopes are the ones that crumble, and that your desires are the ones that must be sacrificed. 

All is not fair in love, and it's a tragedy that love turns so easily into war. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

True Love

It is a terrible, painful feeling - perhaps the most terrible and most painful feeling in the world - to know that you are not wanted. To be rejected, to be discarded and to be replaced - by someone you love, no less! It was never meant to be that these things should happen - they are grievous, truly, and it is perhaps one of the greatest tragedies that we, as humans, face in love and in relationship. They go against every truth that God speaks about grace, compassion, and unconditional love, and they wound us to the core. 
But though they are physical realities - I know as well as anyone how deeply they cut - they are lies. And for women, perhaps the most piercing lie of all is that we are not wanted. Desired. Worthy to be fought for. Delighted in. These lies are the weapons that the Enemy uses to destroy us, from the inside out. And so, so often, we believe them.
But our God fights for us. He redeems those lies and replaces them with truth - beautiful truths! The Lord wants us to rejoice in relationship with Him, because He always wants us. We are His Beloved, and He desires us. He delights in us. Always. No matter what. No matter how crazy and emotional we are that day. No matter how much of a tendency that we have to nitpick and nag. No matter how particular or controlling we are. He is deeply, passionately in love with us, His Beloved, and it is in His love only that we will never face rejection. We will never be discarded, unwanted, replaced by something better - because to Him, we are the best thing. He fights for us. He delights in us. He loves us. 
Long ago the Lord said to Israel: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.’” - Jeremiah 31:3

Friday, April 5, 2013

Moving On

Such ruin. Such devastation. Such desolation. Such disaster. Such grief. Such ugliness and awfulness.

I never used to understand in all of the chick flicks, why the main character completely falls apart after she is broken up with. I never understood why it took her so long to be happy again, why she couldn't just brace herself into the pain and just move on.

But then I fell in love. I went all in with someone. And I was let down. It wasn't my happy ending.
I understand now. I understand why all of those movies show the same scenario over and over again, why Bella just sat in the chair for months on end after Edward left, feeling like her life was over. (Mind - I don't excuse it; I just understand.)

The pain is real. The abandonment is real. 
The emptiness, the ache, the sharpness, the complete and utter disappointment - it's all real. 

But somehow, I don't feel like my life is over. Oddly, I feel like an entirely new door is opening- into what? Who's to say. 
More than ever before, in this moment, I know that God is real. Because this doesn't make sense - it doesn't make sense for me to feel peace and love and calmness when everything has come crashing down around me. It doesn't make sense to feel hope for a future that I have absolutely no insight into. It doesn't make sense to feel reassured that something better is coming, when I thought this was the best it could get. 

But something better is coming. Healing is coming, joy is coming, happiness and fullness and love is coming.

I can just feel it. 

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:7

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That's frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that's dead inside can be reborn
'Cause I'm worn

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Sometimes, there is a moment in your struggle when you realize that even though somebody else caused the pain that you’re feeling,
you yourself actually played a huge role in causing those decisions that hurt you. That you did a lot of the hurting, too.
And that moment is one of the sharpest, most painful moments of all. 


That one word perfectly describes my life right now. 
Nothing is intact - not my heart, not my spirit, not my dreams, not my hopes- everything is broken. And while there is so much pain, while almost every awful thing that could have happened in this situation has happened, I feel peace. 
I certainly pray that nothing else happens - my heart has been trampled on quite enough, thank you. I feel as battered and bruised as a mere mortal would have felt in the glass chamber that Thor tumbles down to earth in from the hovercraft in the Avengers. (Excuse my interjection of nerdiness). And I’m ready for rest. And healing. And restoration. And resurrection!
But bruises take time to heal, and they hurt for a long time after the initial insult. My entire relationship with the man that I love and whom I thought loved me has quite literally, crashed and burned. And I’m just left here, poking around in the ruins and the rubble trying to salvage the parts of me that I can find again.
But my God is faithful. He has changed me so much in the six weeks that I’ve been walking through this, and even though I have been let down so terribly and so tragically, God has held me up. He’s taking all of the broken, bent, battered pieces of my heart and thrusting them deeper into the fire, the way that a glassblower artfully forms a masterpiece from something ugly and unrefined. Never before have I been so acutely aware of my ugliness, but again I say - my God is so faithful! My ugliness and brokenness doesn’t deter Him at all! I have declared my heart to be His and He is lifting me up, moment by moment, so sweetly and in so much truth. 
This is such a painful road. I would never wish this agony on anyone - not even, dare I say it, the one who caused it in me. God is pouring His grace over my heart and over my life, and in doing so, He is teaching me so much about my own calling to shower others with that grace. It’s a lesson that I’ve been praying He would teach me for so long, and if I would have known the way He was going to choose to teach it to me I probably never would have asked! (Haha.) But the fact that the Lord is still drawing me close to Him, that He’s still molding me and refining me and shaping me to be just the way He made me to be, gives me such joy! A year and a half of the most important relationship I’ve ever had has been thrown by the wayside, discarded and unwanted, and yet I feel purpose. I feel God working His plan in and all around me, and I am so hopeful for what is to come. 
God truly is astounding - that He would take something so hopeless, so impossible, so full of despair, and redeem it into something beautiful and hopeful and life-giving. I am so thankful to serve a God who loves me so deeply. 

"To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory." -- Isaiah 61:3, NLT