Category Archives: Writing

More Like Ten Days

So, the whole 25 days of blogging kind of fell off the bandwagon at certain points. Which was to be expected, with finals and coming home and all. But ten posts and eleven drafts came out of the past twenty-five days, so I’d say it was a success. Even more than whatever I posted, I learned a lot about myself and the Lord in the past few weeks. They haven’t been easy weeks – it’s been a lot of internal wrestling about who I am and what the Lord is calling me to, not to mention tests, papers, and car problems – but forcing myself to write throughout it has been one of the biggest blessings of the season. There’s also been a lot of laughter, smiles, and hugs in the past 25 days too, which writing has helped me to see, so I’m a very happy 21 year old.

In case you missed anything. . .here’s a recap of the past 25 Days of Blogging:

Day 1: Reflections on Writing

Day 2: Crying in a Coffee Shop

Day 3: My Devotional on Community

Day 4: My Summer Faves

Day 5: Hanging with the Stars

Day 6: skipped

Day 7: Watch What I’ll Do

Day 8: skipped

Day 9: It is Well with My Soul

Day 10: skipped              

Day 11: skipped                                          <———- this was the rough week pre finals

Day 12: Five Truths I Learn When I Have a Crush

Day 13: What I Miss About Acworth, GA

Day 14: skipped

Day 15: skipped                                       

Day 16: skipped  

Day 17: skipped  

Day 18: skipped                                        <———- this was the rough week of finals 

Day 19: skipped  

Day 20: Whatever is True

Day 21: skipped  

Day 22: skipped  

Day 23: skipped  

Day 24: skipped                                           <———- this week included a lot of family and presents

 

IMG_6489

Reflections on Writing

A couple days ago (I think it was when I was finishing an Internet Cafe devotional at 11:55pm), I had this idea. 25 days of blogging. One blog post a day until Christmas. Force myself to blog everyday and do it during the 25 days that will include finals, a roommate moving out, my 21st birthday, and Christmas in a new home. It was quite the late-night idea. Honestly, I didn’t think it would stick. Yet, here we are.

The thing is, I love writing. I’ve always loved writing. I remember being asked to write a short paragraph in third grade and when I came home, I wrote eight more pages. I’ve filled probably fifteen journals over the years. It’s never because anyone made me or even because anyone was telling me that I was good enough for it – I have always written because it’s a part of who I am.

I’m always thinking deeply and I am constantly searching for ways to put what I’m feeling into words. I don’t really write for anything other than my own necessity.

But like with anything in life that is a part what refreshes us, it can become so easily confused and wrapped up in our identity. Half the time my lack of blog posts is not because I don’t have anything to say, but rooted in my own fears. I worry that it’s not good enough. That I haven’t said things eloquently enough. I worry that I’m not good enough. No one probably even cares to read what I write, so what’s the point?

The point is that writing draws me closer to the heart of Jesus. It brings clarity to things that were previously jumbled up in my head. More than that, blogging forces me to connect the pieces of what is happening in my life and what I see Jesus doing with the truth of who He is. For as much as I love journaling, let’s be real – there’s no accountability in it. Granted, that’s part of the beauty of journaling; it’s me and Jesus and all my raw, broken, messy pieces. Yet there’s a fine line between that being beautiful and necessary and very dangerous for my soul. When I make myself write in a way that is grounded in Scripture and celebrates the things Jesus is doing, with authenticity and honesty, I am always refreshed. When I do it on a platform that forces me to fight the lies of insecurity, fear, and the Enemy in my head that say “you aren’t good enough,” I am empowered.

That’s why I’ve decided to do twenty-five days of blogging up to Christmas. Somedays it might be short. Someday it might be long. Some posts may be deep, some not so much. I’ll probably miss a few days and I’ll learn, yet again, what it means to show myself the kind of grace that Christ lavishes on me (and others).

I don’t know that anyone even really read this blog. I don’t know that anyone will think that anything I post in the next 25 days is valuable. That’s ok. I’m not really writing for anything other than the renewal of my soul and the glory of the Lord. The way He chooses to get glory is His prerogative anyway, whether that’s speaking to lots of people or simply choosing to change my heart.

So here’s to 25 blank drafts, 25 days of craziness, unknowns, and endings, and 25 days of pressing into Jesus!

IMG_4830

The Blogging Hiatus.

Do you even know what a hiatus is?

I didn’t. Or at least, I didn’t when I wrote the title.

It means a pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process. Synonyms include the words interval, intermission, interlude, lull, respite, suspension. I always have this idea when I get back from big events that I will have a renewed vigor to post on my blog because I will have a new set of experiences to dish out. Getting back from Asia and then more recently from the End of the Year Gathering in PA should have resulted in newfound inspiration, not a hiatus.

I think I like the word “hiatus” best out of all the synonyms. Everything else seems to imply that the break was conscious, unwarranted, or undesirable. I unconsciously made the personal decision to ignore blogging for two months because everything has been great. Have I mentioned the Lord is so very good and so very jealous for both me and His glory?

It’s not that I don’t want to write about Asia – I can’t. Part of me can’t because practically what I’m allowed to say on the internet is limited because of the potential hostility that could come to the people we worked alongside. But an even bigger part of me can’t because I don’t know what to say. First, so much of what happened is personal. Some of it couldn’t be explained unless you’d been exactly where we were, doing exactly what we were doing. And some of it I don’t want to explain because it is precious to me, moments between me and the Lord or me and someone else that I cherish to much to just repeat for the world to lend a careless eye to. Second, so much actually happened. Two weeks and one camp later I have more than one evening’s worth of stories circling through my head. I don’t know where I’d even begin.

So I came back with a fresh overflowing of the Holy Spirit. For the first time in a long time, joy and peace saturated my heart and spilled over into every area of my life. God has been healthy convicting, molding, and teaching me. He cuts away at my flesh but it feels so good and free. How can you express what God is doing and has done in your heart in jumbled letters on a page?

And as I began to wade the new waters of sufficient grace and love, I finished finals and packed up the car for the gathering in PA. Thinking back to the insecurity, fear, and disappointment that hindered my heart during the last EOTYG, I began to let the work God had solidified overseas, but began long before that, penetrate my timid heart. Confidence and identity. I got to hug all my friends. I laughed at their jokes and we told stories. We danced and I listened to their singing. Finally, smiling and misty-eyed, I was handed a high-school diploma. I couldn’t say which was better, India or Lancaster because they were so different. But they were both two of the best and most memorable times in my life. I’m smiling as I type this, to give you an indication…

How do you write a blog post to sum up the culmination of a lifetime of emotions, when you know the culmination is just the beginning of a lifetime’s more?

How can you conclude the last chapter of your life when it is still being written and spilling over into the next?

I don’t think I can.

Which is why I’ve sat in front of a blog post more than once since being back, thoughtlessly tapping on the keys. Words won’t come. How can they? I can’t sum up or explain what God has done in me while I was away. I can’t write out all that the Lord has been doing in me and through me these past few weeks. I can’t put a value to my feelings. I can’t put to words the change in both my heart and my life.

But I feel like I can’t go ahead and post the movie reviews, my bucket list, photos, and stories without attempting some closure. For Asia. For graduation. For the gathering. For a new post on my blog.

I don’t know what the next few months or years have in store for me. I don’t pretend to know the plans of the Lord. I don’t know how much I’ll be able to put into words, what stories I’ll end up telling, or how many photos I’ll remember to capture. But I do know the Lord loves me passionately, His grace is utterly sufficient for me, His Holy Spirit is in me, and He is good. And contrary to what the past two months would have you believe, I do love this blog.

I have one life and looking back (see the video below), it has been more abundantly blessed and full than I’ve ever realized before. I’ve been to Europe and Asia. I’ve met and built relationships with some of the most incredible, influential people, and best friends. I’ve learned more than I could’ve ever anticipated about the Lord. I’ve learned more than I ever thought I could in school and I grew to love learning. Looking back fills me with sentiment, yes. But it also fills me with immense hope. The faithful God who had His hand on the baby Maddie who wanted to shave like her dad, dance in the rain, and eat all the birthday cake is the same trustworthy God who will go on with me to return my Redbox movie today (btw, I sort of loved Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher), travel with me to Wheaton, and guide me for the rest of my life. I just hope I remember to blog some of it.