The first REAL job.
Having something to be proud of.
Your first place that’s all your own.
Engagements (check!). Weddings (coming 4/23/16). Babies (not for a loong time).
“I can’t pay for groceries this month” stress.
“Mom and Dad I need a loan” stress.
Moving out. moving up. moving on. moving out…
This list and much, much more is my wish list of sorts. All the things I hope for, yet miss, desire to “check off”yet God desires for me to be patient and continue to wait.
Even after nearly two years of living the “left behind” life, I still continue to mourn my old self. I deeply mourn all the things that were but are no longer, all the things that could have been but never had the chance to be. I mourn who I was, I mourn my lost abilities, my lost life that I will never have back. I continue to mourn the many parts of who I was, that I was forced to close the door on, say goodbye to and never look back.
Mourning is healthy. It’s a part of the grieving process. I suspect my mourning will continue through much of my life as I’ll always ponder how different things could have, would have, should have been for me in my own selfish eyes.
This mourning is not focused on college. I think that’s a common misconception. I continuously get asked the question, “When are you going back to school?” And though it comes from well-wishing friends and family (thank you for loving me), this question is exceedingly frustrating, aggravating, and disappointing. It makes me feel as though my worth comes only from a 4-year degree, as if my identity somehow lies in education. Or that concerns for me are focused on whether I graduate from a University rather than whether I survive and thrive.
The answer? I do not know ANY of what my future holds. College and working are not responsibilities I can even consider taking on for at least another year. While that may seem like a long time from the outside, that number is honestly pushing it. Earning a degree is not my top priority nor should it be; yes it is something I wish I had accomplished and hope to do so in the future. I’m also incredibly open to the idea that Gods Will may not include more school… He may have something greater lined up that does not require further education. Who knows?!
The only plan I am making and counting on is marrying my best friend, Tyler, on April 23, 2016. He is the precious person who has vowed to unconditionally love, support, and care for me despite what storms are blown our way. And I will undoubtedly do the same for him.
Earlier this week, after spending four days in my very favorite place—the hospital, I allowed my mind to travel to a deep, dark place. A place where it rains self-pity, self-loathing, and tells me to feel completely sorry for my poor self. It’s a place full of comparisons, envy, jealousy, with a focus on all that I don’t have rather than all that I do. This spot in my mind begs the question, “Why me?” and “I don’t deserve this.” I view this particular school of thought as utterly pathetic and downright disgusting; I strive with all my might to avoid this place yet there are times when I cave.
While caught in this place, a dear friend of mine texted me. As we talked, I complained of the hurt that comes from feeling “left behind,” from being the one on the sidelines, watching from afar and cheering others on as they move forward with their lives, achieving great accomplishments, getting real-world jobs, degrees, and morphing into true adults. I felt as though I had nothing in my own life to be proud of, no accomplishments to show for myself.
Her response, I have no doubt, was God-ordained and I bet she would never know it. She lovingly reminded me that the horror I’ve already survived is a great accomplishment in itself. She made me realize that others were not judging my life through the same harsh, tainted lenses that I couldn’t seem to shake. Her words re-instilled the self-pride I was stubbornly avoiding and ignoring. Daily, I am mesmerized by and reminded of God’s great truth in Romans 8:28 which reads, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
All things He works together.
All for our good.
And in these moments of self-pity, self-loathing, and just plain feeling bad for myself, I must remember where my identity comes from. Who I am is not contingent on a degree, a job, a bank statement, awards, accomplishments or anything else on that bogus list…
Who I am lies solely in WHOSE I AM and WHO my Maker says I am.
1 John 3:1 reminds me that I am called a Child of God because of the great love He freely lavishes on this world. Romans 8:1-2 convicts my heart when I read that through Christ’s crucifixion I am no longer condemned for failures or chained to sin/death. Rather, I am set FREE. Genesis 1:27 paints a beautiful picture of God creating us all in His perfect image. How can I loathe the Majesty’s creation? Most importantly, 1 John 5:4 gives me confidence in knowing that faith is the greatest accomplishment imaginable for because of Jesus we already have the victory.
What could possibly be better?!
1 John 3:1 “See what great love the Father lavished on us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”
Romans 8:1-2 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”
Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
1 John 5:4 “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
Though my feelings of “left behind” are justified, I know these thoughts are not healthy or helpful to dwell upon. Our Great God has shown me He can work greater wonders through my years of weakness than He ever did in my years of human strength.
This story He has given me, is my life’s greatest accomplishment because through it, His word, His glory, His greatness, His majesty, His love, and His faithfulness shine bright.
My purpose on this earth is not to accomplish that which the world says is good. My purpose is to spread the name of My Redeemer and share His love unapologetic ally. I’m confident that when The Lord calls me home, I will look back upon this life & declare being “left behind” as the greatest thing that could have ever happened in my human existence. Being left behind gave me the unique platform and opportunity to grow into the person who God has called me to be.
And I cannot think of a greater achievement.