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Unashamed: When April Showers Don’t Bring Mae Flowers.

They’re supposed to bring May flowers.

April has come and gone — and for the most part, so has the rain — the Dallas Arboretum proves the flowers are upon us — but what if life’s metaphorical flowers, aren’t?

I haven’t been majorly depressed since December — BLESS UP. It’s been a whole new year of adventure and excitement and radiance that I rarely tasted in 2016. The amount of gratitude toward my parents, friends, doctors, therapists and The King has overwhelmed me.

But I think I’m regressing — lately I’ve experienced heavier and lower days. It hurts, as I started a dream job just a couple of weeks ago, and so desperately want to thrive there. I seek out medical, emotional help partnered with a holistic approach to mental health.

Sometimes the flowers don’t sprout.

We go through periods of absolute suffering and pain, we cry out to God for relief, but it seems as if the hope and joy never come upon us. It seems as though we are forgotten and abandoned and He doesn’t live up to His promise to “work for our good.”

Lately I’ve been eating up Isaiah. This morning, I walked through ch. 30. It talks about rebellious people who “speak to us smooth things.” They want an easy way out, they want smooth sailing.

Yet, those people are like breaking “that of a potter’s vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a shard is found.”

We are Christ’s vessels — we are called to be filled with the Spirit and pour out radical love onto those around us. So how do we refuse to rebel and cling to God’s goodness?

We remember that He will be gracious. He hears the sound of our cries, he answers us. The “bread of adversity” and “water of affliction” make us see our Teacher.

Bread and water are necessities — I’d prefer to live without adversity and affliction. I’d prefer to sail calm waters without blasting winds and pelting rain. I’d prefer to not be bipolar, to not give too much of myself away, to not suffer from anxiety over tomorrow’s.

But He “binds up the brokenness of His people.”

He sees our hurt. He hears our cries. He sits with us. He cradles us. He listens. He weeps. He protects. He provides. He delivers.

He will not leave us alone. He will not let us suffer without Him, His presence, His grace. He will not abandon or forsake or condemn us if we walk in Spirit and in Truth.

He says, “You will not suffer forever. I will stitch you back together. I am yours, you are Mine. We will fight this. We will win. And I will overcome.”

Bearing my Cross · Body. · College Life · Friendship · Life Written. · Popular Posts. · Post-Grad. · The Word

Adulthood 101 {On Hope}.

“Adulting” is still new to me.

It’s been over a year since I graduated from Baylor, and I feel just as much of a child today as I did on Dec. 19, 2015 when I walked the stage.

I remember feeling proud as I shook President Starr’s hand. I remember feeling confident strutting across the stage in front of my peers, professors and parents.

But I also felt fear. Fear that I would not succeed, that my future days would only pale in comparison to the past at Baylor.

And I also felt hope. Hope that the God who crafted my past would also beautifully orchestrate my future.

my hope from yesteryear carries me into all of my tomorrows.

I felt proud and confident and afraid and hopeful in Nashville. I felt on top of the world, it was like the stars finally aligned and I found a real home away from home.

But when I came back to Dallas and I was diagnosed, I didn’t feel hope at all. I really thought my life was over. I couldn’t dream. I couldn’t plan. I could just sit and pray that the suffering would go away.

Even when I had no hope, God rushed in. He said, “I’ve got this. I’ve got you. Just be.”

So I just was. I slept through the night, woke up, showered, laid around, ate, fell asleep. Rinse and repeat.

At some point, in between being diagnosed and feeling like myself again, His Hope was reintroduced to my heart. And God proved to me that His Hope truly reigns over every circumstance, every doubt, every sorrow.

so it’s a year later and i’m still trying to adult.

Granted, I live at home. So it’s a bit different for me. But I still wash my clothes and pack my own lunch. I recently learned you’re supposed to wash your sheets every two weeks, so yeah…I’ve been doing that wrong since college.

I still plan out my finances and do my best not to spend all of my money on coffee & concerts–it’s hard. I still try not to sell my soul to the corporate world by spending time with friends and even getting out of the Big D every now and then.

Adulting really isn’t so bad.

God starts us off as children for a reason. He wants us to be pure and innocent, to be full of energy and curiousity. He calls us His Children, His heirs, His own.

But He also wants us to grow, to mature. To dive deep into our faith, to become head over heels for Him. He expects us to fall more in love with Him as we continue our relationship.

He prepares us, He nurtures us. He does not leave us alone at any point in our lifetime, and especially not when we enter into adulthood or experience trouble.

So, fellow emerging adults, I say this to you:

You will be fine.

You might spend too much money on tacos. And yeah, maybe you haven’t washed your sheets in a few weeks. You call your mother every day. And you’re thinking about leaving the country.

But don’t worry, because you’ve totally got this, because God’s totally got you. You are not an island. Surround yourself with people who shine His Light and show His Love. Surround yourself with people who you aspire to be like, people of all backgrounds and ages.

And just do it.

Show how much you trust in God and dive in headfirst into the unknown and uncertainties of life. Clothe yourself with strength and righteousness and Truth. Live the fruit of the Spirit and love in this reckless and radical way. You won’t regret it.

Bearing my Cross · Life Written. · The Word · Unashamed. · Uncategorized

Unashamed: The Power of Prayer & Suffering Well.

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Some days, I beat bipolar.

It is funny how many friends and family praise me. They say I am doing so well, that I have responded to my diagnosis exceptionally. They are proud, they love me, and they can’t wait to see how God will use me.

But they don’t see me at my worst, when I curl up in bed and try to squeeze out tears from my empty tearducts.

It’s hard to feel hopeful in those moments. It’s hard to feel anything at all.

Lately, I’ve come across the phrase to “struggle well.”

When I hear this term, I picture cancer patients fearlessly undergoing chemotherapy treatments, and constantly hoping in The Lord.

I don’t think of myself, because I still consider myself a victim, not a survivor. I struggle and doubt and wrestle with my mind. I fear and hurt and cry.

After reading James 5, I think it is okay to struggle and doubt and wrestle. It is okay to feel afraid and to experience hurt and to cry out to The Lord.

James 5 walks through patience among suffering, and the prayer of faith.

The passage says, “You too, be patient and stand firm, for the Lord’s coming is near. It says, “We count as blessed those who have persevered.”

It goes on to say, “Is anyone among you troubled? Let them pray. Is anyone among you happy? Let them sing songs of praise….The prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.”

During even the toughest days, I remember that Jesus is coming soon. I remember that God is in the here and now, fighting by my side and even in my future. I cannot ever be fully hopeless, because my hope is built upon the Lord’s promise to return. My hope is built on His promise to restore and redeem.

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness. It isn’t an ordinary, physical sickness, but it can be just as debilitating. Like cancer, or a broken leg, it can be healed and managed well.

With the Lord, there is always hope.

There is always an answer to a prayer. There is always an open door. There is always a silver lining. Often, it’s hard to hear His reply, or to notice the door, or to see the silver. But friends, they are always there. Jesus is coming soon.

 

Bearing my Cross · Body. · Friendship · Life Written. · Mind. · Post-Grad. · Sojourn. · spirit · The Word · Unashamed.

Just Around the Big Bend: On Suffering & Satisfaction

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I camped last weekend.

My friends Brian, Sarah, and I made the 10ish hour drive down to Big Bend National Park.

Our first full day there, we decided to hike to Emory Peak, Big Bend’s highest point. At 7,825 feet, this hike was more like a trek for an out-of-shape, wannabe adventurer like me.

It was rough.

Minutes into the walk, I was already panting. Then my calves began to hurt. Then the sun came out, and I sweated like none other.

I wouldn’t define my uphill battle as suffering, but I sure wasn’t thriving. I often asked myself, “Why was this a good idea?” Then I pictured me passing out and rolling down the mountain. Doubts and insecurities crept into my mind.

Mental illness is very much a part of human suffering. Bipolar disorder challenges me because I have little to no control of my moods: I can be happy one day, and hopeless the next.

When I am down, I feel like I am lost in the valley, desperately trying to find a way uphill to a better view, a better state. I doubt my ability to get better, I become insecure about every part of my being. Fear and uncertainty plague my thoughts and interrupt my dreams.

It was worth it.

The top of the peak offered some of the best views of the area below. Mountains and deserts and valleys unfolded beneath my feet.

It was a beautiful, breathtaking sight. My doubts and insecurities stilled. And peace and hope filled my mind.

There is so much satisfaction from overcoming challenges. Each time I come out of my depression, I am thrilled to feel like myself, like a human again. I call up friends and schedule outings, I just want to be around the people I love to show them my true self.

It’s a beautiful, breathtaking moment when you realize the storm has passed. Doubts and insecurities dissolve. And peace and hope reign.

We can make it through the valley to stand on the mountain.

I had a student minister who always said, “If you’re not in a storm, you either just came out of one, or are headed toward one.”

There will be storms, and they will tear apart your life without asking permission. Lightning will strike, thunder will roar, and you will hope and pray to be saved by sunlight.

Make it through the storms, withstand the tests and trials down in the valley. Look up to the mountain, know there is refuge and hope and goodness ahead.

Because the mountaintop view lets you see and understand the trek you hiked, the fears you battled, the storms you faced. The mountaintop moment satisfies you by knowing your suffering was worth it.

Bearing my Cross · Body. · Life Written. · Love Languages · Mind. · Post-Grad. · Sojourn. · spirit · The Word

Just Around the Big Bend: On Hope & Expectation

946796_10208895827141727_1832745874572742066_nI’m camping at Big Bend this weekend.

My friends Brian, Sarah, and I dreamed up this trip months ago. As adventurers and lovers of the great outdoors, and strangers to Big Bend, we decided it would be the perfect Labor Day weekend getaway.

A lot of planning has gone into our trip: what to pack, meal planning, buying last-minute gear. There are far few things I love more than packing for a trip, especially a campout. This week I’ve been giddy as I run around the house to find miscellaneous items like wipes and bug repellant.

There is much around the bend {of life}.

Year 22 beholds a mixture of the new and old. A new church, an old hometown. A new job (hopefully), an old resume. A new friend group, while keeping the old.

Excitement and adventure come with all of this newness, but so do anxiety and nerves.

What if I don’t fit into my new church? What if I can’t find community?

What if I can’t get a new job? How will I sustain my weekly coffee and pie expenditures?

What if I can’t make new friends? What if the old ones leave me?

But God works for our good: yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Hebrews 13:8 says Jesus is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. This means Christ will always be our Savior, always be Protector, always be Deliverer, always be King.

This means that while I spend my days in today’s, God is far ahead, making room for good things to come.

What if I prepared for God’s goodness the same way I packed for Big Bend? What if I planned for great things to happen in and through me, long before they do?

Let’s wait on God in hopeful expectation.

Because the ultimate greatness that will happen is Christ’s return.

What if I loved so much today, that it poured into my tomorrow’s? What if I feared less today, so I can enjoy my tomorrow’s?

What if instead of doubting and worrying and over-planning, I sat in the still and quiet, and waited for Christ to come back?

Hebrews 6:19 says, “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.”

God’s hope keeps us planted, it won’t let the waves and storms of life sweep us away. God’s hope keeps us steady, it holds onto us just as much as we cling to it.

Friends, do not doubt yourself today, and don’t live in fear of tomorrow.

Look ahead to the horizon, switch to a bird’s eye view, and be prepared for blessing and abundance. Fight the storms, anchor your soul, and be ready!

Bearing my Cross · Body. · For the Ladies · Friendship · Life Written. · Mind. · My Adoption · Popular Posts. · Post-Grad. · spirit · The Word · Unashamed.

Unashamed: Stable & Able {On God’s Strength vs. Mental Illness}

13243891_203119956748195_6724010833973776814_oBipolar disorder is marked by mania and depression.

When I’m manic, I lose sleep, my mind races, I talk too quickly, and I can’t sit still. I come off jittery and overwhelmingly excited over petty things.

I make plans, plans, plans, with people and for my life. They’re big and fun and grand, and often a bit too lofty.

When I’m depressed, I sleep too much, my mind slows, I talk too slowly (or I don’t talk at all), and I only want to sit or rest. I come off lethargic and seem underwhelmed by nearly every activity.

I refuse to make plans, I isolate myself from friends and family. I feel shame for feeling so down, and I don’t want to cause others to sink to my level.

Doctors want their patients to be stable.

“Stable” is a buzz word in the world of mental illness. We don’t want to be too energetic or over eager, but we don’t want to be too sad or underwhelmed.

We want a happy middle ground between a crazy high and a sleepy low. We want an even, strong, secure stance.

In the world of mental illness, we aim for normalcy.

But I’m not normal, so I aim to be able.

I’ve always been the odd one out: adopted, Asian, young, boyish, etc. I’ve never melted into a crowd easily, in some form or fashion I keep sticking out like a sore thumb.

Originally, I hated my diagnosis, because I feared it made me stick out too much. I felt sad, because I lost a life I loved in Nashville, and angry, because I lived a faithful life until now.

These days, I know I’ll never be perpetually stable. My disorder is called bipolar, so it throws me into a world of dichotomy, of yes and no, of black and white, of being “read” all over by strangers, family, friends.

My friend Britt prays that I can live in the grey. She prays I can be steady, steady, steady. And I am so grateul for her prayers.

I may never be stable, but with God, all things are able. He is the One who Heals, Protects, Redeems. He is the One who Fights my over-energy, and under-sadness.

He is the One who makes me new, not because I need to be fixed, but because I am a broken, sinful human being.,

We are not always stable. Our life crumbles to pieces when tragedy, betrayal, darkness strikes. We can ever be able, with God on our side.

Bearing my Cross · Body. · College Life · For the Ladies · Friendship · Life Written. · Mind. · Popular Posts. · Post-Grad. · Sojourn. · spirit

Year of No: On Balancing Life & Living Well

My senior year at Baylor was coined “year of yes.”

I said “yes” to spontaneity, new adventures, and new friends.

I said “yes” to living boldly, without restraint, and to loving wildly, without regret.

2016 is “year of no.”

I will say “no” to imbalance, bitterness, heartache, unhealthy relationships, and a lack of boundaries.

I will say “no” to fears, doubts, and insecurities that creep into my mind, and trap my soul. I will say “no” to the Accuser, his evil schemes that stifle who I am, and what I do.

I will say “no” to simple things.

Things like gardening, making my bed, and changing my outfit multiple times a day.

I will also say “no” to overbooking and overwhelming and over exhausting myself.

By saying “no,” to all of these things, I am saying “yes” to living life joyfully and free of limitations.

I will say “yes” to creativity, selflessness, and living large. I will say “yes” to looking at the glass as a glass, regardless if it’s half full or empty.

I will say “yes” to diving headfirst into fighting bipolar, seeking Joy, and trusting God.

Friends, the truth shall set you free.

What are you saying yes to? What about your no?

How do you pursue people and passions? How do you let go of losses and failures?

Why do you agree to do what you do? Why do you stop yourself from what you refuse to participate in?

I encourage you to know yourself,
To truly dive deep into the why’s and what’s of who you are, what you do, and where you find Truth.

The more you know yourself, the better you allow God to know you: to delve into your Spirit, to inspire your walk, to steady your mind.

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