Thursday, January 7, 2016

Things I've learned and Will Learn

Hello everyone! 
I understand I'm about seven days late on this, but the first part of the year was such a whirlwind that this is the best I can do. But, I do want to acknowledge that it is a new year. I'm fairly certain that I have signed every single check I've written thus far with a 2015 instead of '16. I'm also fairly certain they will go through just fine anyway. I'm going to say that this has a deep meaning involving my connection to the past year and my unwillingness to let it go, just to give things a flare for the dramatic.

All silliness aside, 2015 was an amazing year. It was amazing in so many good and bad ways, and I feel like I have learned so much in the span of twelve months. 2015 really brought home being an adult for me. 
I left my single years behind and started dating, only to turn around and leave my dating years behind to be engaged. All in one year. 
I realized that I can function just fine out in the world, and getting up at six am really isn't so bad.

I started off my year fresh out of college and really not sure what to do. I thought I wanted to be a counselor at summer camp. In all honesty, it was mostly out of a desire to be around the christian guys who would come to help out. A job seemed like it was probably in order, but that thought terrified me to no end. I didn't know how to do anything. I'd never had a job before. Would I even be able to make it? With some not so gentle encouragement my parents convinced me to start sending out resumes. I ended up sending one to the camp, and a bunch of other places. My parents told me to pray about it, and if God wanted me at that camp, I wouldn't get one of the full time jobs. It was scary, and overwhelming, and I didn't handle it like I should have all the time. There were lots of tears, and knots in my stomach, and moodiness. 
But I did what they said. I did pray about it. And I got a call for an interview. 
The rest is history. I got the job. Is it my dream job with a phenomenal work environment at all times? 
No. It's not. 
But is it a great learning opportunity? Absolutely. It's boosted my confidence massively. I've discovered that I can run an office on my own. That I can work with customers, and co-workers, and work off a schedule. Not to mention make glasses. That's pretty cool.

Alongside the insanity of diving into the working world, I had a totally different life going on. The one where I was nineteen and had never had a boyfriend. There just weren't any christian guys in my area. I knew a few through homeschool group, but they were younger than me, and lived far away. It seemed like there was no one available to me. My mom is a big fan of Michael and Debbie Pearl, so she was all game for going to other churches and stalking *ehem* I mean, seeing what was available, since that's what the Pearl family has had success with. I was all for giving it a try, though the idea of having to go to Timbucktoo to find a guy, and then trying to maintain a long distance relationship didn't thrill me. I was desperate. I'd try anything. But its kind of hard to take off on Sundays to visit other churches when four of the five people in your family are Sunday school teachers...obligations.

I know I've told you about me and Jarod through The Story, but in reality, there was so much more at work spiritually than what I put into those posts. I'd liked Jarod for five years. Ever since he moved here from Arizona. And he talked to my dad every Sunday, but never to me. I can count on one hand the times he actually spoke to me directly before we started dating. And I can count the exact number of words on two hands. But I liked him. I liked him a lot. And I was desperate to try and get his attention. I'd fix my hair, makeup, wear a nice dress- and he wouldn't come to church. And I'd literally get sick. Then the next week I would wear something like jeans, and bam, he'd show up. And not look at me. And I'd be sick. It got ridiculous.
Now I'd been praying about him for years, but in all the wrong way. I was praying that he would notice me and we'd become best friends and fall madly in love and live happily ever after, the end, my way, how I wanted it. One day I was convicted during a sermon that God gives me what I need, and if I don't have it, then I don't need it. I went home and told God that I understood. And I quit pining. Not to say I didn't still have a crush and hope he might notice I existed on the same planet as him, but it didn't consume me anymore. I was actually able to focus in church like I was supposed to.
A few weeks later he called and asked for a date.

I suppose the biggest thing I've learned this year is that I don't have any control over anything.
And that I need to take everything to the one who is in control of it all.
I've struggled and failed miserably. There have been tests and trials where I have just blew a gasket, and freaked out, and thought the world was coming to an end, and I acted like a little brat for several days. And then it would dawn on me, and I'd remember to pray about it. Trust.
My temper tantrums aren't going to rearrange the stars. But God can. He can move in the heart of anyone, or in any situation and make it work out.

The next big thing that required me to give up control was when Jarod and I broke up. It was massive. I had been so happy that he liked me back, and that we had a chance to see where it would go. It wasn't that I already had the wedding planned out, or anything crazy like that, it was just that I was happy. So happy. God had given me what I wanted. And then it seemed like he was taking it away. And I didn't think it would ever come back, because me and Jarod were just living two very different lives, and I didn't want to go against what I knew God wanted, by trying to keep what I wanted. I knew that kind of Jarod wouldn't make me happy in life. I wrestled with it. And it was hard. I can honestly say that was the worst time of my life. And it took several days, but I finally decided that what I had learned before was still true.
If I didn't have it, I didn't need it.
Making the decision to keep communication going between us was a scary one. I wanted so badly to listen to the promises he was making, but I knew that words are empty if there isn't a change in lifestyle. So I let him call me, and when he wanted to meet on lunch breaks I agreed. And it was a battle to walk the tight rope of being forgiving and giving second chances, and being stupid and taking everything I was fed because it fit the fantasy I had imagined.
It has been amazing to watch Jarod grow in his faith this year. Nothing short of a miracle honestly.

This year has also taught me to trust. For the first several months we were dating again I lived in fear that all the changes he had made were just to make me happy, and if we ever were to get married he would feel safe that he had me and go back to his old ways. I was petrified when I didn't hear from him on Saturday nights, and letting him go off to college a hundred miles away was nerve wracking.
What if he was lying to me? What if I was falling for it?
Time has shown me that he is genuine. I'm confident that if something were to happen that we were no longer together, he would keep following God, hardcore. But before I could get to that point I had to let go and trust Jarod, but mostly God. That he knew what was going on when I wasn't there, and if I would trust him, he wouldn't let me get into anything that would hurt me. 

I learned to let go this year. That my brute force and will power wont make things go how I want. I gave Jarod over to God when it seemed like his faith wasn't important. I told God back then that I loved Jarod already, but I loved God more, and that I didn't want anything that God didn't want for me. And in the next week there was a dramatic change in both of us, and my faith grew. There have been times where I've had to keep giving  Jarod to God. When struggles come I want to buckle down and hang on tight and force things to work. I've had to learn to let go and let God move. 

I've had to do the same thing with my job. Instead of fretting myself sick about how I was going to make it through the co-worker parties, and the conferences, and the environment that wants to destroy my faith, I've tried to take it to God instead, and my faith has grown, and I've survived, and thrived. 

I've learned that people are just people, and they're going to act like people. Flawed, and cruel, and unjust. I've come to realize that I'm no different, and I can't get all worked up when people are like that to me. Do I like the lies and attacks they aim at me? No. And I don't have to. But I can realize that they are just words and they don't have to dictate my life. Just because someone tells a lie about me I don't need to blow up and get in their face and ruin my testimony.  They're lie might not be true, but their point has been proven if I react that way. As hard as it is, I just need to pray and ask the Lord to deal with those people. To convict them of the wrong and soften their hearts, and to help me to turn the other cheek and love those people instead of hating them. 

I've also learned that my faith has to be my own. For awhile I was really busy reading the Bible, and praying and stuff, but it wasn't for me and God's relationship. It was for Jarod's. I talked him into reading the Bible with me, which is a good thing, but I got more focused on him and what he needed to learn than what God was trying to teach me. While Jarod was getting better and growing, I was getting worse. I was trying to live off his food. And because he was flourishing, he was using it all up, and there was nothing left for me, and I began to shrivel. I had to focus on my relationship to the Lord. Not Jarod's relationship to him. My salvation is between me and God. There is no middle man. 

It's been a great year. It's been a hard year. There have definitely been ups and downs. But I wouldn't change it. Even all the bad stuff that happened, that hurt, that scared me, I wouldn't make it any different. Because it helped. I learned and grew and changed, and so did the people around me.
God worked all things out for good. 

And now as I move forward into the next year, and brave the adventure of becoming a wife, I want to keep learning, and not forget what God has taught me so far. I want to not get so caught up in the wedding that I forget to invest in the marriage. I want to be kind to the people around me who are loving and supporting me, and not let my frustrations shoot them down. I want to work on my temper, and not let small things annoy me so easily. I want to keep growing, and keep learning.
The world God created is always changing, and so are people. God, who knows everything, sees it all and knows exactly what I need to learn in each situation. I want an attitude that is pliable and able to be taught. I don't want to get caught in a rut that says I have arrived. I've got it now.
There's always something. 


  1. Seems like you learned a lot this year, I'm glad you and Jarod were able to work all of your problems out, with God's help of course. I pray that God blesses you and your fiance this year, and that you continue to grow in him.

  2. Wow! What a year :) I think it's great that you can look back at it and see God through it all- defiantly the trait of an adult Christian :) Yours and Jarod's story is awesome, and even better for God teaching you through it. I hope God keeps working with you two and you keep learning in this new year :)