Life as it is

After my old laptop very rudely and inconveniently decided to shut down without even so much as a goodbye, I spent about 4 very mournful months pining over my loss. As quickly as my budget would allow though, I spitefully decided to enforce my revenge by getting a Mac. Take that, nasty old laptop!!

Allow me a few lines to brag upon my newest love. It’s glorious features daily astound me. The wonderfully snowy white keyboard sends my lips into an immediate proud smile. The way I can glide my cursor to the corner and suddenly witness all my open screens on one page beautifully organized gives me chills of excitement. So here’s to my old love—I’m better off without you, you old sorry soul. My life is better and more organized and easier without you.

😉

Anywho!! Now on to more important business. I’m back!!! Oh glory of glories!

What’s happened during my 4 month absence, you may ask? (Or you may not ask. In which case, I will still enlighten you 😉 )

I moved out of my home on May 15th…..which…..if we’re going to be completely honest here…..was a day completely filled with crying. Thanks to my sweet boyfriend (ah yes, I am no longer single. Not sure if I’ve mentioned that. But I’ll save all that for another post 😉 ), I made the five hour drive without crashing from blindness due to so many tears. He drove the last half so I could sit in the passengers seat and just cry.

Let me just say, driving away from your family after having never lived away from them and watching them slowly  get smaller and smaller in your rearview mirror is not fun. People don’t warn you about the leaving. You get pumped about new places,  new faces, new spaces, but you aren’t prepared for that goodbye. Gets me teary eyed just thinking about it. I do hate goodbyes. They’re nasty little things.

So I got to my maroon carpeted, two bedroom, one bathroom apartment feeling dismal and forlorn.

About a week or two after moving in I found myself with a nanny job, which only lasted the summer. My summer isn’t truly worth even going into much detail about. It was mostly uneventful, except for being blessed with no longer being in a long distance relationship and getting to spend lots of time with Austin. Other than that though, I moved here with no friends and barely a job. God has proved His faithfulness on a daily basis though and I am in awe of how He has worked everything out.

I am now in a better place in my life. My depression has diminished considerably, I am making new friends on a daily basis, I have two absolutely amazing jobs, and the town I live in is wonderful and small and quaint and quiet. Exactly what I needed.

I quit my nanny job about a month ago and started working at a local coffee shop/soon to also be vinyl store. I have also been working at a children’s shelter (which will also be saved for another post.).

Here I am, sitting at said coffee shop, overwhelmed with the Lord’s work in my life. He’s brought me to a place I never thought I’d be. I’m living with 3 wonderful girls, dating an amazing man, learning different perspectives of the world through the shelter, making as much coffee as my heart desires and playing my own vinyls as I work, and meeting new beautiful people.

So this all for now dear readers. Until next time 🙂 (which will NOT be 4 months away!)

 

~CourtneyRae

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Failure Freedom

We all fail at some point. We each make mistakes, say the wrong thing, give the wrong look, etc. But does that make us a failure?

I put too much emphasis on my failings and shortcomings, issues and problems in my life. I focus so much on them, I lose track of the truth.

I was talking to the Lord about it all while harshly beating myself up mentally one day. He was pretty quiet most of the day. It allowed me space to vent and get it all out there (I’m a verbal processor, so I needed that). Then, gently but firmly, He quietly said:

“Your failings and issues don’t define who you are, honey. I do.”

My response? Silence. Complete silence, along with a sigh of relief from this incredible reminder.

I believe this is something each of us needs to remember. It’s so easy to turn on oneself and beat yourself to the ground with harsh words and graceless thoughts. We typically show ourselves much less grace than Christ Himself.

So today, remember, you are defined by Christ and who you are in Him. Not by your personal issues, failures, and so on. What freedom 🙂

Blurry Vision

blur

Everywhere there are fake people. Fake smiles. Fake words. Makes me wonder what would happen if we were all real. Even just for a moment. What anger would we see? What love would we experience? What sadness would be witness?

But honestly, how many people want to see all that? How many people want to deal with what’s really going on? It’s seen as a burden. An inconvenience. We all have busy lives. Someone else’s problems interrupt the cycle.

I see people shove things aside. Stuff their problems. Brush it off until a more ‘convenient’ time. Realistically, that more ‘convenient’ time will never come. The time is now.

Being real can be messy, and it’s often seen as risky. Showing people your true self and being that vulnerable can lead to rejection and hurt. But, would it be better to walk through life not being yourself? Never knowing who your true friends are? I don’t think so.

I’ve heard people say “I hate when people cry in public.  It’s embarrassing and shows a lack of class and dignity”. What’s so wrong with crying in public? Yeah, it can make some uncomfortable. Yes, it can embarrass others. But, that’s their own issue. Instead of being encouraged to be ourselves, we’re encouraged to hide. Which is so sad.

It’s hard to come across truly real people. People who are open about who they are. We all have struggles and pain and sorrow. Most of us are fighting a hard battle. So why not start speaking up about it? Why not start being there for each other and encouraging one another?

I think it’s time we stop blinding ourselves to the reality going on around us. See people for who they are. Their pain, their struggles, their beauty, and so on. Only then can we truly show grace and only then can we truly love. It’s time to end this blurred vision and ideal and stand up for honesty.

Talking or walking?

I did a post a while back about homeless people. I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately and how Christians interact with them. You walk up to a homeless person to share the gospel, and more likely than not, they’ll say they know who He is and that they believe just to get the food or money you’re offering them. Can’t say I blame them. If I heard the message as much as they do, I’d probably respond the same way.

This is a problem though. Lots of Christians can talk the talk. They can preach it until they’re blue in the face. But can they walk the walk? It makes me incredibly sad to see what sort of reputation Christianity gets. Most outsiders looking in see hypocrites. They see people who know all the answers (or pretend to) and who freely judge and criticize others who aren’t like them, but when push comes to shove, those same Christians aren’t truly living the life Christ has for us. They aren’t pouring out His love. Just talking about it.

Many people I’ve talked to believe that you should never give a homeless person money in case they use it for drugs or alcohol. So instead, they give them food. They have good intentions, but the root isn’t quite so innocent. The bottom line is, it’s a form of control. What that person does with the money you give them is their decision. All we can do is obey when the Lord calls us to do something. If a person uses that money for what most would consider wasteful, that’s their choice.

Our goal should not be to control the life of another. Our goal should be to share the love of Christ to any and all who come our way. Be that giving them food, money, or even just simply caring enough to talk and listen to their life.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a time for preaching and talking. But, sometimes sharing His love doesn’t involve us talking or preaching. Just listening. And giving. Sometimes, that can speak so much louder than any words we could ever use.

Valentine’s Day

tree2 Here is a reminder for those of us who are single this Valentine’s Day. Instead of letting it get us down, remember, it’s just a day. Just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you’re not worth pursuing. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. Just means the right one hasn’t come along yet. 🙂 He/she will come. The wait is worth it!

Wise old owl

owl

Self-centeredness is a funny thing. Lots of people walk around with a consciousness of what others are perceiving about them. How they look. How they dress. How they talk. Act. Walk. Say. Etc, etc, etc. It’s exhausting. But, funny thing is, it’s a pointless exhaustion. Most people are so caught up in worrying about how others perceive them, they aren’t really seeing others. I wish more people (myself included) would focus on others more. That they would stop thinking and worrying about themselves, for even just a moment, and really look at someone else and their concerns and needs.

Sir Fear

This post is about two different types of people. There are several other types of people, but these are the two I’ve been observing lately.

There are some people who allow themselves to get walked all over. They sit back and take it. Come what may. They get yelled at. Demeaned. Taken advantage of. Put down. Etc. Then one day, they snap. They’ve taken it for too long, and stuffed it to the brim. They’re like a tall glass spilling over with bitterness and hurt.

Then there are people who take nothing. They’re the ones who do the demeaning, yelling, taking advantage of others, and so on. They get defensive and put themselves on guard at all times. They have a hard time letting people get past their wall of defense.

Both tend to see themselves as the victim. In reality, both are victims. To themselves.

Person number one has a very passive way of dealing with their issues. They tend to be scared of confrontation, hurting others, taking care of themselves, etc. So, instead of running the risk of shaking hands with Sir Fear, they shrug him off and stuff it all down. Therefore, they become a victim to their own fear and way of coping with difficult situations. A person can only stuff so much though. At some point, it becomes too much to handle and it starts spilling over everyone and everything.

Person number two is someone who has been so incredibly hurt, betrayed, slammed, etc.  they have built a wall to protect themselves from everyone. They are scared of being wounded again, and so, instead of running that risk, they push everyone aside. Therefore, a victim to their own fear.

Both types seem so different. One seems docile and mild-tempered. The other seems angry and easily upset. But in reality, both are very very similar. They just both cope with the same issue in a different way.

This isn’t a post to bash either type. At all. Both have been hurt in incredibly deep, detrimental ways. Both are just trying to work past the hurt and figure out life. But both are doing it independently. Not through dependence on Christ. Which will only cause them to go around in circles and never be truly healed.

We have to allow ourselves to be healed. To go back to those nasty, hurtful places, and see the truth in the situations. Otherwise, we will forever be a victim to ourselves, the lies we believe, and Sir Fear.

Loss

kids-in-church

I was sitting in church trying to keep my mind focused during the sermon. It has this awful habit of running in every direction at the absolute worst of times. For about a month now it’s been keeping me up into all hours of the night. I sometimes feel like my will and determination are a mom and like my thoughts are her many children. She tries and tries to keep them all in one place, but few things seem to accomplish that desire. Yelling doesn’t work, looks of disappointment are a lost cause, force usually just ends in rebellion. But there she stands, always trying. Maybe one of these days I’ll figure it out ;P

Anywho, I was sitting in church and the subject of ‘loss’ kept coming to mind. So I went ahead and wrote about it.

Loss is something we all experience. It can be through many ways. The death of a loved one, the loss of a lover, the abandonment of a friend, a pet running away, losing ones favorite toy as a child, etc. It’s all loss. Loss tends to come to the same conclusion. Emptiness.

People fill that emptiness in many ways. Retail therapy, drinking, eating, not eating, changing their look, new friends, etc. Just something to fill that dark hole. Anything.

Does it ever really completely fill that hole though? Does one ever truly feel totally satisfied? Maybe. For a time. It might provide a moment of happiness, a small time of blocking it out of your mind. But that’s all it is. A band-aid.

Loss is a lifelong occurrence. Every moment I think ‘Ok. I’m alright. I’m good now.’ something else hits. Another reality  rock comes my way. But each of those stones remind me—–I can’t do this on my own. I need a shoulder to cry on, a hand to steady me when I can’t walk.

But that shoulder and that hand is already out there. God’s got this.He’s always ready and always listening.

The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17