hope

The mercy I need today (and everyday)

My eyes pop open. I turn to look at the clock. Immediately, I sit up, heart pounding within me.

Oh, no. No. No no no no no no. 

A sense of dread fills me up to the core.

My alarm didn’t go off. I’m supposed to be at work right now!

I fly out of bed, ripping my brush through my hair, splashing cold water on my face, looking haggard. I don’t have time to shower or put on makeup, and I throw on yesterday’s clothes.

“I’m sorry!” I text my boss. “I’m sorry, I’m coming, I’m sorry!”

I grab my purse and my keys, shifting the gears in my car as fast as it’ll let me. I drive like the mad woman I feel I am. The cars in front of me, of course, are going far below the speed limit.

“C’mon,” I mutter, impatiently dancing my fingertips along the steering wheel.

I glance at the clock on my dash. By my estimate, I’ll be at least forty-five minutes late, if not more.

It’s Monday — undoubtedly the worst day of the week. Sleeping through my alarm has proven this fact to be true. I mentally go through all of the tasks I need to complete today. This one mistake has ruined everything. My whole day is shot. Scratch that. My whole week has gone entirely down the drain.

On the half-hour trip to work, I imagine running into the office, frazzled and unkempt. I rub the sleep out of my eyes. I wish I had put on blush, and feel slightly grateful that half of my mascara is still on from last night.

I think of how everything is ruined now. Starting my day and week off on the wrong foot means that everything will seem harder and less thought through. I am hungry from not eating breakfast, and I wish a coffee would appear in my hand.

Suddenly, without warning, I have a new thought: I don’t want to be frazzled. I don’t want to be stressed.

Click to read the rest over at (in)courage...

My identity isn't what I thought it was

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I am one month into college.

Currently I should be: writing two papers, creating a film, studying for a test, researching a prominent Canadian figure, reading my textbooks, and making a hefty amount of artwork so I actually have something to sell at my second art show this December.

Instead, I am writing to me and you.

Sometimes I think, "I used to be good at articulating. I used to be able to think about how I was feeling and immediately put those thoughts onto paper."

Now it seems as though I hardly ever write what I think. These days it feels as though I'm writing so much and simultaneously writing nothing at all.

Identity is a funny thing. People ask us, "What do you do?" Before school, I felt as though I had nothing to say. But now I have something. Now I can tell them, "I'm a journalism student. I go to school. I study. I write papers. I research. I procrastinate. I am learning to be a truth-teller in all I do. Also, I am very tired."

I can easily wrap myself around the idea that being a journalism student is who I am because it's currently what I do.

The other day I received a mark on an assignment I had finished. It was a terrible grade. And get this -- it was for a writing class. I saw the mark and instantly wilted.

I am supposed to be good at this. I am supposed to be a writer. People have told me I'm a good writer, and if people tell you that, it has to be true, doesn't it? If I get a bad mark in a writing class, does that prove I'm a bad writer? Am I in the wrong program? Why am I taking journalism if I can't actually write? And why is everyone else in my program approximately seventeen and a half years old? Why did I think it was a good idea to wait four years to go to school? 

It's astonishing what can happen when you make what you do into who you are. It's staggering how quickly you can crumble. When your identity is something shakeable, a feather can touch you and still you'll fall apart.

I am a writer, even after that bad mark. But it's what I do, not who I am. I am a journalism student, but it's what I do, not who I am. I am an artist, but it's what I do, not who I am.

Instead, who I am is this:

Deeply, immeasurably loved.

I think this on my commute, while I watch the sun rise. I am loved, I breathe in. Deeply loved, I breathe out. Immeasurably loved.

I like school. I like how my brain hurts from listening and thinking and digesting and wondering. I like digging deep into the lives of fascinating people, and being able to tell someone's story who may not be able to tell it on their own.

But it's not who I am. It's just what I do right now.

My identity is entirely different than that.

So moving on doesn't mean forgetting

I love reading people's year in reviews, what they've garnered from the past three hundred and sixty five days. They often speak of hope for the upcoming year, resolutions they'll try and keep, goals they pray they'll attain. I have goals, sure. Lofty, perhaps. Some of them I'm even dreading, which in itself may not be a good thing. I have wishes, and dreams, and hopes--a lot of hopes. Desires, ambitions, and I bet you do too. But more than this, what I have most right now is tiredness. I wish I could take 2015 off, go to a beach and lay on the sand for a long time. Not a bad tiredness, or a sad tiredness, just...a tiredness.

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I see people talking about their hopes for this upcoming year, the word they are claiming, running full throttle, guns blazing, passionate and fiery into this New Year, and I read what they say and I am desperately happy for them. And slightly dizzy at the thought.

I wasn't going to talk about this last year. I thought if I ignored what made up the days of 2014, perhaps moving on would come quicker. But I am not ignorant nor naive when it comes to this. Because though this year was hard, it was good. And though I don't want to talk about it all the time, moving on doesn't mean forgetting. Moving on is good and healthy and important. It doesn't mean I'll forget, I just may view things from a different lens, a further away sort of lens.

I get anxious I'll forget--and sure, there are some things I want to--but others I hope I remember. I hope I remember empathy, I hope I remember excitement. I hope I remember sensitivity is beautiful not weak, and family is stronger together than apart.

I was going to write some things I learned this year, but perhaps I'll do that tomorrow. Or maybe next week after 2015 has already been ushered in. For today, I'll hope in Hope. And keep on hoping..

the story of her strength

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I saw the scars on her wrists, her arms, her shoulders. Tiny marks she had tattooed to herself, as she ripped the blade into the depths of her skin.

I don’t cut. I’ve never cut. The thought of cutting myself makes me wince, because pain isn’t something I’ve ever been very good at dealing with.

But she cut. And she’s smiling.

I try not to stare at the scars, because I don’t want to make her feel uncomfortable. And yet, I’m overwhelmed by their raw and tangible beauty. She’s standing there, smiling, scars on her arms and strength in her voice, and I see those scars not as shattered flesh, but as things that tried to kill her, and yet didn’t - and there she stands, tall and victorious.

And she is strong.

She doesn’t cut anymore. Instead she smiles. She smiles a lot, actually.

And those scars bear proof of her strength. She may think them ugly, but I think they’re beautiful. 

Her scars tell the story of her struggle, but they also tell the story of her strength. 

I think our scars and our struggles and our strength go right there, hand in hand, and that beauty comes from the depths of our pain. It is real and it is human. And maybe that’s why the scars are so beautiful to me. Perfection is incredibly unattainable, isn’t it? It’s something so many of us desperately strive for, and yet it’s simply a facade no one can possibly keep up.

But raw, broken, scar-worthy beauty? That’s human. That’s real. And that’s beautiful.


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I look at her again, and this time I don’t see the scars, or even the smile that lights up her entire face. Instead, I see a girl who once was broken, and now is on her way towards becoming whole. Who once needed the companionship of a razor blade to feel complete, and now rests in the comfort of Jesus. Who once thought seclusion was the only way to live, and now knows authentic relationships with people brings healing.

She is the face of one girl, but she represents so many.

We as people, young or old or in the middle, can share - not only about our scars, our struggles and our strength - but about the hope that is formed in the midst of it all.

Our scars tell the story of our struggle, but more than that, they tell the story of our strength. 

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for the hope-full, and the hope-filled, and the hope-less (and a giveaway!)

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“Aliza,” he said, and his voice sounded full so I craned my neck to listen closer and she was there, too, smiling, looking directly into my heart as he spoke. “It’s okay to not be okay.” I sat back, and the tears welled up behind my sunglasses. Because no one had ever said those words to me before. And maybe, even if someone had said them, maybe I wouldn’t have believed them, because doesn’t being broken scream to people that you’re weak?

So my friends, Nick and Sarah, they say this to me, on a six-hour road trip to the capital city of Canada. While the trees roll by, and the silence seems holy, and these words are the kind that sit in the pit of your soul just aching to be spilled out of your lips and given as a precious offering to others.

 

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We are twenty-three, and twenty-two, and nineteen, and we are Generation Y.

I once read that “Y” is the worst letter. It’s the wishbone, it’s the fork in the road, it’s the empty wineglass. It’s the question we ask ourselves over and over, as our worlds seem to shatter around us. A fitting description for my generation.

I believe that Generation Y is hurting. And broken. And hopeless. And maybe there are times where you feel hurt and broken and hopeless, too.

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I'm writing over at (in)courage today where we're hosting a Hashtag Hope GIVEAWAY... join me? 

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