The Wind & Waves Don't Matter
April 14, 2019
"Something doesn't feel right." - Me
I woke up feeling way worse than I should have. I suffer from PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) which makes life pretty hard to manage with a variety of debilitating symptoms every month. I have had this for over a decade and it's been a long road but about 4 years ago, I was finally healed and I had normal cycles that didn't take away from my quality of life and it was so wonderful! I no longer had to worry about of suffering from this and wondering if I would have the chance at a normal life. I could have a job and not worry about having to call in sick because I couldn't move or go to do every day task and not worry about crippling nausea and vertigo. I was so excited about this new chance at life and for anyone who has ever had to deal with a chronic illness, pain, or disorder, you know what I am talking about. To have experienced a few years of healing was wonderful, so you could imagine my surprise when it all came back. One day, I went home for my lunch break as usual and I wasn't feeling well but it wasn't bad enough to call attention to it. But then, it hit me. (CAUTION: IF YOU DO NOT LIKE TO READ ABOUT MEDICAL ISSUES IN DETAIL, SKIP AHEAD TO MAY 2, 2019)
I double over in pain and I was bleeding profusely. I lurched over and vomited and because of the force of it all, my ears started ringing. I call one of my assistant directors and ask her to take me to express care. I go and the doctor goes over all of my symptoms and asks lots of questions about why I suddenly started feeling all of the se extreme symptoms again. Stress. I had just started a new job, recently moved on my own, and prior to this (a few months back) a family member had died so there were a lot of things in my life that contributed to my hormones being thrown out of whack. She said that I should really try to destress, add in mindful habits, and take some time for myself. I thought, ok that's fair. I can handle that.
May 2, 2019
"What if I asked you to give those things up?" - the Father
I was mad. All my life, I had gone without asking for too much. I don't ask for much because I don't really need much and I've never been particularly materialistic so I thought I was good. The one thing in life, though, that I had really wanted was to go out of SC, travel, write and do worship ministry, and maybe one day get married and do life with a husband. So you can imagine my dismay when God, on several occasions, asked me to give up those dreams. Every time, I ignored it and said, "Nah, that's not God. He wouldn't ask me to give up good desires. He doesn't withhold any good thing from me (Psalm 84:11) so He wouldn't ask me to do that. Not after having never asked for material blessings, He's not gonna deny the one thing I want in life that ACTUALLY is a good desire. Oh...but little did I know the dynamic character of God. He can do what He wants. He can say what He wants, ask anything of us because we were bought at the price of His Son (1 Corinthians 6: 20)! We don't belong to ourselves. But He also delights in blessing us (Deuteronomy 30: 9). All of these things are emphatically true about who He is and speak to the dynamic we have as His children. Just like any parent, however, even if something is good, it doesn't always mean that it is good for us. To many, Nutella is good and very good but for me...someone who is allergic to hazelnuts, it is NOT GOOD. I get hives haha! So when put into perspective of life, marriage, traveling, worship ministry, all of those things are good, very good! But for me, maybe they aren't good for me right now (or at all) OR maybe they aren't how the Lord wants me to bring Him glory and He has other plans for me. And to put it bluntly: that pissed me off. My heart posture? It went something like: "I never ask for anything and this is why! Because I get rejected and You say no for no reason. You actually don't care about our dreams, not if they don't line up with Your will. You just care about Yourself and You wouldn't be wrong, because You're God. You can do what You want. And we don't really matter in the grand scheme of things You feel no qualms about taking something away from us! Forget You, man..."
Yes...I had a full blown spiritual temper tantrum and my flesh meant every word I said. I was hurt and so I lashed out. I felt very unseen and uncared for and it made me angry. Here I was trying to give my life to Him while also bringing Him glory and He said, "No...that's not what I want you to do." And I was livid. I understand now how prideful of a response I gave but in the moment, I was hurt. Of course I'm repentant of it but I also do not have any shame (because shame isn't from the Lord), I'm human. We aren't always going to have graceful or grace-filled responses to something the Lord tells us. Heck, Jonah got swallowed by a WHOLE WHALE because he didn't want to do what the Lord told him to. But eventually, I swept my feelings to the side and ignored the rejection I felt. I could handle it.
May 22, 2019
"Comfort before the storm." - Holy Spirit
I didn't know what that meant. I was sitting at the Reflection Pond at CSU after work one day and I was just taking everything in and having some time alone with the Lord. At this point, you can tell I've had a rough number of weeks. So to say this was foreshadowing would be the understatement of the year. At first, I thought He meant literally, there was literally a thunderstorm coming in the distance so I was like "odd but ok". Something inside of me, though, felt so unsettled. Extremely unsettled. I went home and tried to unpack it but I was tired. Just completely over it. So ultimately I ignored it. I knew He was trying to tell me something but I honestly didn't care to hear what else He had to say. Big mistake. But you know what I thought? I could handle it.
June 10, 2019 at 10:09AM
"Heyyy. And yes I'll be [at family reunion], will u?" - my cousin/brother, Zanard
"Yesss!! Only for Saturday and Sunday but I'll get to go after all!!! I didn't think I would get to go because of work but since I have off Monday, I'll be able to come to FL!!" - Me
"Yayyy!!!! I won't fly out til monday." - Zanard
"woo!" - Me
"See you next month" - Zanard @ 11:54 AM
"Yay I'll see you then!! And I'm just gonna let you know now: I'm getting a tattoo when I get there lol! So if you wanna get something with me or just wanna watch, plan for some fun times haha" - Me
June 11, 2019 at 5:54AM
"I need to talk to all of you immediately!!!" - my mom
I heard a knock on my apartment door. I saw on my phone the time and realized I had about 10 missed calls from my mom. I opened the door drowsy and my mom said we needed to talk so we went into my room. She sat me on the bed and said "Zanard died." And I heard nothing else. I remember saying, "No. That's not true." but the rest of the conversation was a blur. I let her out and then I crumbled to the floor and my friend who was staying the night with me came over and hugged me. I wept. I then asked if she wanted to worship with me and she said yes. The first song I listen to was "Peace Be Still" by the Belonging Co ft Lauren Daigle. Here are the first few words:
"I don't want to be afraid every time I face the waves I don't want to be afraid, I don't want to be afraid I don't want to fear the storm, just because I hear the roar I don't want to fear the storm, I don't want to fear the storm
Peace be still Say the word and I will, set my feet upon the sea Till I'm dancing in the deep Oh peace be still, You are here so it is well Even when my eyes can't see, I will trust the voice that speaks"
If you couldn't already tell, I'd already had a challenging few weeks leading up to this. My physical health started to decline, the Lord said "No/Not yet" to a dream I've long had, my emotional and spiritual health suffered because of all of that, then the big wave, my first best friend and brother by experience dies. I had nothing left to offer the Lord. I was done but the first thing my Spirit did was worship because I didn't know what else to do. I didn't feel like worshipping but I knew I had to in order to stay not completely unhinged. I worshipped for a good bit before trying to go to work. Then I realized I couldn't try to act ok, what was I gonna do at work anyway? So I told my Director what happened and I left. I don't really remember the rest of that day or even the next. I couldn't handle it.
Jun 14, 2019
I went back to work that Friday and saw that I had roses and a card waiting for me. It was so nice but I wasn't ready to go back to work and honestly I don't even think I had a very productive day. A whole week went by and I just kind of feel like I lost time because I have no idea what happened. I tried to get out of the house so I didn't stay in one place with my sorrow. I did, however get a tattoo that really helped me with the healing process. After my mom came to tell me he died, I heard he drowned. So many thoughts raced in my head, "Was he alone? He must have been so scared! What about his dogs? What about his daughter?" But the first thing that came to mind was the song "The Voyage" by Amanda Cook and in the song, (she is singing from the perspective of God) she sings,
"Set your sights, sailing far beyond familiar In the rising tide, you'll find the rhythm of your heart. And lift your head, the wind and waves don't matter."
I knew that moment that I wanted that tattooed on my arm. I had been wanting one there but hadn't known what to get so it just seemed fitting. I got it later that week and I loved it, I still love it and I will continue to love it for the rest of my life. My tattoos all share apart of my story and I couldn't imagine any other way to glorify the Lord than to get parts of the story He wrote for me displayed on my body so people can see and ask and I can get the opportunity to share Him with them. The song, as well as the tattoo, are based on Mark 4: 35-41:
Wind and Waves Obey Jesus
"35 On that day, when evening had come, he told them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.” 36 So they left the crowd and took him along since he was in the boat. And other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still!”The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”41 And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!” (CSB)
Since then, not much has changed but a lot has happened. Funeral, baby shower, family reunion. My circumstances have not changed one bit however it's so incredible to see how the Lord has comforted and shown Himself in my circumstance. I've slowly but surely began to crawl out of the valley and I am excited. I am starting to feel a joy I hadn't felt in a long time. Throughout the storm and the suffering, I went through every emotion possible. I yelled at God and I surrendered to Him. I didn't talk to him for days on end and then I worshipped with everything I had. I wasn't perfect and I don't think that was the point. Yes we are supposed to suffer well but I think the main lesson I needed to learn was that I am completely dependent and reliant on Him at all times. This suffering wasn't a punishment but it was a lesson. I don't know if I received all the lessons I needed to receive but I do know that I now have a completely different outlook on my relationship with God. If I am in it, I need to mean it with every fiber of my being. I need to actually be sure that I mean it when I say I love Him and when I worship, I need to it be completely real and devoid of performance. My head knew all of these things but now my heart knows them too. I can handle it ONLY when I'm in Christ because He has already taken care of it for me.
July 29, 2019
"Come to Me continually. I am meant to be the Center of your consciousness, the Anchor of your soul. Your mind will wander from Me, but the question is how far you allow it to wander. An anchor on a short rope lets a boat drift only slightly before the taut line tugs the boat back toward the center. Similarly, as you drift away from Me, My Spirit within you gives a tug, prompting you to return to Me. As you become increasingly attuned to My Presence, the length of rope on your soul's Anchor is shortened. You wander only a short distance before feeling that inner tug--telling you to return to your true Center in Me." - Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
So this is what I meant when I said that the past 2.5 months have been trash. It's sucked on many levels for many reasons. But to know that He has been with me every step of the way lets me know He keeps His promises. To know that I've had coworkers, family, and a few friends to walk through this with me help me know that the body of Christ is real and alive. Understanding how I've responded to all that God has allowed lets me know the condition of my heart and the passion I have for Him now to get healed and free and feel better. I can't handle it alone and we were never meant to do so alone. But I am so ready to experience peace and calm and comfort and joy again. I am on the path towards it and I can't wait.
Love and miss you, Zanard. He loved you first, I'll love you always.