it’s time to celebrate

This time last year, I imagine I was probably sitting in a classroom in my athletic shorts and sweatshirt (that business school was cold in the mornings). I was also probably counting down the minutes until class would be over, so I’d be able to go grab food with a friend or head back to my room for my weekly Harry Potter marathon.

It was a hard season, truth be told. There were unexpected doctor visits with unexpected diagnoses, anxieties and thoughts like a black cloud in my mind, and the pressures of expectations for my adult life crashing in like all-consuming waves.

I clung to Jesus like I never had before, and depended on him for every morsel of strength. I wept almost daily as I fought spiritual warfare that I never expected to be so familiar with. I lost fellowship with people and yearned for someone – anyone – to understand me. I felt isolated, defeated, fearful, and robbed of joy.

I lost sight of my purpose, deemed myself unredeemable, and begged Him to take it all away.

+ + + + +

Now that the black cloud is gone and He has healed me, I am in a new season. Not just mentally and emotionally, but the world around me looks a lot different.

In May, I got engaged to the love of my life. We were married in July, and it was the happiest of days. He is my God-sent light in the dark.

Also in May, I graduated from the school I called home, and started my first big-girl job at the beginning of June.

Today, instead of the comfort of athletic shorts and a sweatshirt, I wear a dress and makeup. I sit at a desk that looks a lot different, in an office that’s cozy surrounded by a hallway of people I love, but who are different than my former classmates.

It’s all very different, and I’m really just trying to figure out how to go from being a t-shirt-wearing, coffee shop-habitant of a college student to an adulting Mrs. And I’ve decided that’s it’s okay to admit that it’s a beautifully hard thing.

+ + + + +

In this new, adult, married life, I am someone new. I have a new name, a new life, a new season in which I can be used by God in places I couldn’t before.

I’m in the process of learning the balance between mourning a season that has been lost, with all the built-in, relatable community and the free time, and rejoicing in this beautiful new season I’ve been given, that sometimes makes me do a double-take and ask God, “how in the world do I deserve such a blessing as this?”

Maybe you feel that way too? I don’t know where you are in life, or what season you’re in. Maybe you’re in a hard season, or are coming out of one like I am.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from where I just came from, it’s that there is always a new season around the corner, always redemption for the seemingly unredeemable, always a new song that you can learn to sing. And when Jesus seems the farthest from you, He is the closest, working everything out in your life for His purpose and your good.

+ + + + +

When I came across the words of Sara Gilmore, I realized something: I need to celebrate more, and I need to intentionally point out the things that are worth celebrating. I believe when we choose to celebrate, we invite God into our lives in a special way, and I believe we can breathe easier as we take every opportunity to thank Him for what He’s given us, instead of spending almost every moment asking Him to take the hard things away.

Like her, I feel prepped for redemption, for a season of celebration.

fullsizer

So, I’ve dedicated my November to celebrating my new season. Every day leading up to Thanksgiving, I’ll be posting about something (or someone) I’m celebrating.

Will you join me in celebrating yours? Feel free to join me with this hashtag (#choosecelebration) on any social media. I’d love to see what you’re thankful for each day!

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. – Psalm 100:4

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

Advertisements

Your Sickness is Not a Sentence

When looking forward to college, there are three things I definitely did not expect to happen. Yet on a rainy Monday morning as I sat in a chair across from a professional counselor, the words were spoken softly in tone but loudly to my vulnerable heart: OCD, anxiety disorder, and minor depression.

It turns out these three things have walked with me for a while and I just didn’t know. Scary, huh? As you can imagine, the days after were full of questions, fears, and shock. Well, shock and a lot of “ohhhhh, that’s why” moments.

It’s nice to have a name- or, names- for what I’ve been struggling with. But at the same time, it’s completely overwhelming. All of the symptoms and the diagnoses and the treatments in all their long lists and various severities just feel like a sentence.

It feels hopeless, all-consuming, permanent.  

In steps truth.

God is my healer, my protector, and my safety. My identity is not found in the three names that currently walk with me, but in the name of my holy and perfect Jesus. I am sick, yeah. But I am first and foremost a daughter of God and nothing can take that away from me.

Untitled design

 “Praise the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all His benefits- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.” Psalm 103:2-4, emphasis mine

He brings light into all darkness, goodness into all bad news, and this is no exception.

These things are hard, yeah. They come with things that I can’t control and things that make me mad. But God is still using it. He’s using these things to grow my faith in Him and to help others who struggle with the same issues.

He’s also teaching me how to be thankful for the way I am and how He designed me, despite the ‘disorder’ my flesh has created. He’s teaching me to redirect my tendency to obsess to being obsessed with being more in love with Him. He’s showing me how to use my love of lists and need for structure to help in building His church.

I find my hope not in the possible treatments and medicines and doctors, but in the One who created me and has a plan for my life.

In the name of Jesus, OCD, depression, and anxiety have no power over me. I do not belong them, nor am I a slave to them. I am free in Jesus.

That is good news. For me and for you.

+ + + + +

I don’t know what’s going on with you right now. Maybe it’s something similar to what I’m walking through or maybe it’s something else.

Wherever you are today – happy or sad, content or dissatisfied, lost or found, strong in faith or doubtful – hear this: your sin, your sickness, your deepest darkest issue, and your most shameful hurt is not too big for God.

He delights in showing mercy. He is our healer and our safe place. He longs to bless us. He bears our burdens with us. And He will never, ever leave.

+ + + + +

As you probably assume, this post was hard for me to write and even harder for me to publish. Vulnerability is something that I continually have to work on and, especially in times like this, I can find so many reasons not to share. But God asks it of me, so I show up and write what I can.

It is my hope that God spoke to someone through this post. It is also my hope that we would all be willing to pray for each other in all the issues we face.

I ask that you pray for me during this time. For healing, yes. But more importantly that God is glorified above all else and that He’ll use this situation for good. In return, I’d love to pray for you. Feel free to reach out in the comments; I’d love to know how to be praying for you as well.