Embracing Seventeen

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i.

 

I turned seventeen this past Sunday – on April second, two-thousand seventeen.

 

If you don’t know me personally, you may not have known my age until now.

 

And it’s not as if it’s a secret – I simply decided a while ago that I didn’t want people to judge me or my writing on my age alone, or have to try and explain when I mention school that I’m a college student, even though I’m supposed to be a high school student, and kind of still am for a few more months.

 

(See? Complicated.)

 

But something hit me really hard last week. I was talking to some college friends, and coming to the realization that the average age of the majority of my friends is around twenty years old.

 

And it’s funny – because I joke about it all the time, the fact that I forget that I’m not twenty, myself.

 

But it’s more than just a joke.

 

After spending almost an entire week discussing everything under the sun with a dear friend, a friend that’s my own age, I realized how important it was that I don’t forget that I’m only seventeen.

 

I’ll only ever be seventeen once.

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my story isn’t over yet.

 

My Story Isn't Over Yet.

My story isn’t over yet.

 

I gently ink these words onto my left forearm, pen gliding along my skin, the letters coming out with lines and loops.

 

The words echo in my head, bringing me peace and hope that wasn’t there before.

 

It isn’t over for me –

 

I mark a semicolon on the edge of my wrist.

 

I know the One who holds the pen to my story.

 

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It’s Time For Me to Be Real Here

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I’m sitting at the counter, jittering from my intake of caffeine, waiting to take a final, and seriously thinking about the future.

 

To be perfectly honest, I’ve been a little disoriented lately. Thinking about what I’ll do next is so tiring, sometimes.

 

Because every time I think I’ve figured everything out about what I’ll be doing and where I’ll be in a few years, something changes. My desires change, my situations change, anything and everything and it sends me into a mental frenzy.

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How the Done List Saved My Sanity & Refreshed My Faith

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If you couldn’t tell from any of my previous posts, I’m one of those classic Type-A, list-writing, goal-driven, oftentimes perfectionistic girls.

 

I’ve written about how much this affects my life – about how it’s caused me to struggle with accepting grace, accepting my worth, and living fully, freely, wholly.

 

But this year, this 2017, I’ve implemented some things into my life that have helped me make grace tangible, my faith just as a part of my life as every other thing on my lists.

 

And the first thing is my Done List.

 

Many people in the world have to-do lists; whether chicken-scratched on a loose scrap of paper, dictated into Evernote, or perfectly printed in a notebook, we’re all familiar with the concept. It’s our own human way of organizing our lives, of creating little goals with checkboxes and a dose of self-motivation thrown in.

 

But I don’t use to-do lists. I use something called a Done List.

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Grasping Onto Hope

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i.

 

Ah, hope.

 

Lately, I’ve been mulling over the puzzling question of what real hope looks like, in a world as messed up as ours is.

 

I’ve been thinking, praying, talking, and tweeting about it, and I’ve been doing my best to grasp the essence of what it truly is…and what it can look like individually in our lives.

 

Hope is beautiful, because it is the promise of faith. Not blind faith, but real, grounded, and radical faith in a world of chaos; confusion; hopelessness.

 

Hope is a form of anticipation, of something guaranteed, not just wished for, and I’ve been grappling with this too, recently.

 

Where is hope when we can’t see straight? Where is hope in depression, in heartache, in desperation?

 

Where is hope when the money is tight, when pain is ever-present, when the future seems miserably bleak?

 

Where is hope in hospitals, in nursing homes, at gravesides?

 

Where is hope in any of it? Where is hope at all?

 

What are we even hoping for?

 

I wish I could lie and say that it all gets better. It may, or it may not. But God is not any less good when He chooses not to give us everything we think we need on this earth. Our ultimate need is a spiritual one, one He took care of on the cross.

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When Life Just Feels…Meaningless.

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This week, I’ve been reading in the book of Ecclesiastes, and man, it’s really caused me to think deeply.

 

Honestly, this book is full to the brim of pessimism, nihilism, and straight-up melancholic hopelessness.

 

Ecclesiastes 1:14

“I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.”

 

Ecclesiastes 3:12

“So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.”

 

It’s opened my eyes, though – and so much so.

 

Because truly, don’t we all feel this at times? The whole church sanctuary’s full of people singing, and “How great is our God!” And “…in His presence our problems disappear.” And “You heal my broken heart…”

 

And for some of us, at different times in our lives, that’s the last thing we want to hear. Sure, God might be good…but we don’t feel it. We don’t feel like raising our hands in praise, we don’t feel like singing about the beautiful life He’s given us, we don’t feel like any of it. The problems are still there.

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When God Works Through Our Nos (& believing better yeses will come)

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Sometimes, it’s hard to accept that the right answer is often no.

 

That ‘no’ is better than ‘yes’ – even when it seems as though ‘yes’ is much more glamourous.

 

I’m still young, still learning, still growing – and something I’m constantly reminding myself is that yes is a good answer occasionally, but no isn’t wrong.

 

Vague, maybe, this rant of mine on two English words we utter often. So hold on for a moment and I’ll give you some background.

 

I like yes. I like saying yes to new opportunities, to traveling, to meeting friends, to taking on jobs, to doing just one more course, to volunteering my time to just one more place…

 

and yet I often forget that yes isn’t the only right answer.

 

Busy doesn’t always mean best.

 

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Seeing Resolutions in a New Light

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Hi there, friend.

 

Happy New Year.

 

It’s 2017 over in my corner of the world, and after a break to refresh my mind, spirit, and celebrate Christmas, I’m back once again.

 

I’m not sure what 2016 looked like for you. Maybe it was wonderful, full of growth and love, hope and peace, or maybe it wasn’t that great. Maybe you were stressed and worn, and maybe it was a really tough year.

 

I’ve seen so many complaints on social media, saying, “2016 was horrible, let’s hope 2017’s a little better.”

 

I feel you, friend. 2016 wasn’t an easy year for any of us.

 

But there’s this trend…and it happens every year. We desire to make this new year “our year,” and scribble down resolutions, or come up with defining words, and believe, “If only I work hard enough, this year will be amazing.”

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