We live in a world full of sin. Every direction you look now a days someone is dying from cancer, or loosing their job. Look left and you see a family of five living on the side of the streets. You turn right and their are women being abducted and sold into a life of slavery. A life they will most likely never get out of.

It is saddening.

A few days ago I was sitting down with a younger friend. She is at the young age of fourteen. For the sake of her privacy we will call her Aly. She sat down with me and informed me that for the past six months she has been talking to a twenty-three year old man. Twenty-three.

I asked Aly why she was talking to a grown man when she knew it was inappropriate. The minute I asked that question I automatically regretted it. For just a few short years ago I was in her position. I was a thirteen year old girl talking to a seventeen year old guy. And when people dared to ask me why I was talking to him I would simply reply with five words.

"He makes me feel loved."

That relationship turned south extremely quickly, to say the least. Now, when I look back on that relationship, I realize that it wasn't a matter of why was talking to him. It was all a matter of why was HE talking to me. What buisiness did a high school senior have talking to a eighth grader. What buisiness does a twenty-three year old man have talking to a fourteen year old girl.

We live in a sinful world. Where young girls are warped into thinking that being hit and yelled at is normal. A world where women cant walk to their cars at twelve at night without fearing that they are going to be raped.

At yet, there I sat, five minutes later, telling Aly that while she needed to stop talking to him, she also needed to show him grace.

A very wise women once told me, "The only thing worse than being abused is being the abuser." That simple sentence has changed the way I view this world. You see, I am not exactly a fan of the man that abused me. And I am most curtainly not a fan of this twenty-three year old man that is munipulating his way into my friends life, but my heart goes out to them, because they must be going through some really tough stuff to get to the point where this was the only way they know how to cope.

This world is broken, it is shattered, and from the outside looking in it doesn't seem like it is getting any better. But God has a plan. He knew exactly what he was doing when he put the guy in my life. I can imagine God sitting up in heaven the day I met my abuser, with his plan book right in front of him.

"Right on track."

Not all realizations are fun, but they can move mountains.

Recently I have come to the painful realization that my mental illness does not only impact me, but those that love and care for me as well.

I've always known that my mental illness impacts others I just didn't know that people actually cared about me. It wasn't until this past week that I truly realized, in the bottom of my heart, that I am loved.

I know I am loved and cared for, I always have. In a sense of I have never doubted that my family loves me. I haven't even every doubted that God loves me. But what I did not know was that my best friend cares enough about me to text me multiple times when I don't reply within a few hours. Or that the one man that I look up to more than I can even try to form into words cared about me enough to drop everything and drive across town to make sure I was okay.

Realizing that I am loved was a wonderful feeling.

Realizing, not long after, that therefore my illness impacts those people greatly?

Well that was a much harder pill to swallow.

Ever since I have been diagnosed with depression I have become selfish.

I, for the longest time, didn't care if I bailed on my friends, making them feel unloved and betrayed. It didn't cross my mind as a big deal when I ruined family events because I was sitting in a corner crying.

It had nothing to do with any of them. It was a me issue, and so it shouldn't impact them. Right?

Wrong.

I was on the phone a few days ago with a family member who I care about greatly. They said to me that they simply did not understand depression. That the whole depression and anxiety bit didn't make any sense to them. They seemed angry at me for being mentally ill. Like I let them down in some way.

When I hung up the phone I was angry, how could you possibly be angry at me for something that I have very litte control over? It is not my fault. It is not something I asked for.

Then I sat back and thought about it. That family member never said he was angry at me for being mentally ill. He simply said he didn't understand. He said he was at loss for words. But then he said that he loves me.

I realized that maybe, just maybe I needed to stop making assumptions about how people are feeling.

I remembered that the first time I talked to my best friend about her mental illness I didn't understand. I hadn't yet been diagnosed so all her struggles simply confused me. I wasn't mad at her, I just care about her. I didn't know what to say so I told her exactly what that concerned family member told me. I told her that I didn't understand, but that I loved her.

And after I told her that we sat in her room in dead silence. Because was at a loss of words.

Does it stink that my own personal struggles impact others so deeply? Yes. But I choose to see that as not only proof that I am loved but as my motivation to get better.

After all, the Sears Tower wasn't built with only one person that cared. It took a village.

And I, I am a skyscraper in the making.

Sometimes you just need a reminder that your life is not as hard as you think.


I complain, a lot.

Just yesterday I was driving in my car, that I did not pay for, thinking about how irritating it is that I haven’t been able to fix the big dent in the front of the bumper.

As the day went on I found myself trying to decide what to do for dinner. Irritated that I have nobody at home to cook for me since my mom is out-of-town on business I decided to get some fast food. I sat in my car legitimately frustrated because I really wanted Panera but did not want to get out of the car to go in and order it.

Today I went grocery shopping, frustrated that my brother spent $20 of the $100 my Mom left us for groceries I did not think I would be able to get a weeks worth of groceries with $80.

“Why does my life have to be so complicated?!” I thought to myself. Angry at the fact that my life is as difficult as it is.

Then, as I was driving home tonight, I noticed a women. She was clearly homeless with a blue beaten up pillow in her left arm and her hands full with the bags that carried her few belongings. She was walking alone in the middle of the night. She was not smiling but she was not crying either, she was just being. I noticed as the light turned green that she was simply paying fine attention to her surrounding. Reading all the signs on the buildings around her.

She did not seem happy, but she did not seem sad. She was just there.

As I continued my journey home I prayed. It was a simple prayer, asking God to cleanse me of my lack of greatfulness.

I have not had the easiest of lives, but I have it pretty good off.

No, I have it really well off.

I have a Mom that loves me with all her heart. I have a roof over my head and clean clothes on my back.

I have a warm bed to sleep in and food on my plate. I have family and friends that I know care for me more than I can explain.

But greater than all of that I know God.

I thank God for putting that women in my life, even if we did not exchange words she taught me too appreciate every little thing that I have because my life, it isn’t too bad at all.

I can only pray that that women comes to know and love the God that loves her with all His heart.

Every Christian has experienced a spiritual high. My goal is to experience a spiritual life.


Ahh yes.

That spiritual high.

I am confident when I say I think every Christian has struggled with this at one point or another. You go on that church retreat, that church summer camp, or even a missions trip. Your last day arrives and you find yourself changed. A new person with a new perspective on their faith. You find yourself stronger than ever in your faith!

A spiritual high.

Then you go home. Your friend says something that upsets you and you lash out at them. Or your parent asks you to do a chore and you moan and groan only to never complete the task. You go back to the real world where you aren’t being spoon fed Gods word. And you come down from that high. Disappointed that all that work was for nothing, but excited for the next trip so you can reconnect with Christ again. You tell yourself that the next time is for real, that this next trip is the one that will really change you forever.

I get it, I am on that high right now, only I am praying to never come down.

After recently having an amazing opportunity and growing much closer to God as well as those whom I spend my church time with I found myself in a new position. I spent a whole week in the middle of a forest with 10 other people.

No phone.

No flushing toilets.

No escape.

I was being fed the word of God daily. With fourth five minutes of devotional time and then a whole day centered around learning how to grow as a team that serves the Lord I left that camp ready for whatever God was going to throw my way.

I got home and I got my phone back. I got to take a nice long shower and a long nights sleep in my own bed. I got the hundreds of text messages that I had missed that week.

I got the latest scoop on who was dating who and what girls got in a fight, the group chats seemed to be never-ending pits of drama and bullying.

Hate.

Sin.

I scrolled through my Instagram feed only to see pictures of my friends half-naked on the beach with some guy they didn’t even know. I saw pictures of my classmates son. I saw everything I had been sheltered from for a week. And I felt weak.

Suddenly I realized that if I wanted to keep my “spiritual high” I was going to have to make it my life.

I realized that serving God means that I need to start serving Him in everything I do. In the songs I listen to and the words I speak. The friends I surround myself with and the choices I make.

I have been home for three days now and I have already sinned more times than I’d like to admit but I am still high up in the clouds. With a new point of view on my faith I have a newfound excitement towards the idea of teaching others about God. There is only one thing I am more excited about.

And that, is seeing His plan.

Everybody needs a stern talking to now and then. 


I’m a teenager.

Trust me, I’ve gotten my fair share of lectures.

Most of them coming from my Mom when I  broke curfew or when I disobeyed her by not doing the dishes before she got home. 

Most of them went in one ear and out the other.

As a teen I have learned that sometimes all you can do is sit there and nod your head, apologize and move on. The deed was already done and the only way to go is forward. 

While most of my lectures have been given to me by my Mom every once and a while I get one from somebody that doesn’t take care of me on a day to day basis. 

I shouldn’t say lectures. Reminders is a better word. 

Reminders that while I may not always care about myself fully, somebody out there does. 

Depression often causes me to not care about myself. I brush my teeth and take showers. I make sure my laundry is clean (maybe not folded, but clean) I stay on top of my grades and social life but I struggle with caring for myself. I often battle thoughts that maybe I deserve bad things. I have learned that those thoughts aren’t coming from me but straight from the pit of hell. 

I sit in my room every night and verbally remind Satan that he does NOT have control of me. But it’s a daily battle. A battle that I lose at times. 

Earlier today I went to chat with two people  whose opinions I value greatly. 

After discussing with them some of the choices I have recently made they gave me a reminder. 

A reminder that everybody makes mistakes, but that I need to be careful that I’m not making too many. 

A reminder that while I might not care about myself 100% of the time there are people that do. 

A reminder that God has given me strength to do all things, even the things I may not want to do.  

This reminder did not go in one ear and out the other. This reminder has been festering in my brain since the moment I heard it. This wasn’t a I’m mad at you and need to vent my anger reminder. This was a You are better than this reminder. 

Something I didn’t nessesarly want to hear. But something I needed to hear.

And for that I am grateful. 

You can learn quite a bit from a kid.


Yet another post about my job. Because I love what I do and I spend a large majority of my time doing it, being a babysitter has changed me in drastic ways.

One specific family that I have come to care for dearly has taught me more than I can type in one post.

This family did not get life served to them on a perfectly clean plate, to say the least. But they are a group of people that I look up to greatly.

A few days ago I found myself is the storm called lunch time. With children all around not wanted to eat their sandwiches, begging me to just let them enjoy their ice cream. I found myself getting frustrated. I looked at the little two year old boy, who was screaming bloody murder because I wouldn’t let him out of his high chair unti he had one more bite of his sandwhich, in my mind I wanted to give him my stern you better do what I say now or there is going to be issues look, but I didn’t.

He is only two, and while giving him a stern look and a serious tone might make me feel better it was highly unlikely to be effective with him.

I looked at him and In my ‘I’m talking to a two year old voice’ I said to him. “Daniel will you please eat one more bite on your sandwich for me?”

That little boy, without even blinking said, clear as day. “OK!”

He picked up that sandwhich and took a bite. I, sticking to my word, unbuckled him from his seat and off he ran to his next activity, happy as could be.

As I was driving home later that day I found myself reflecting on that sandwhich incident. I came to realize that often times in life we are that two year old, stuck in the high chair screaming and crying to get out so we can get on to our activities. And life, well. Life can tend to be that sandwhich. That one load of laundry we should fold before taking a nap. That one apology text we know we need to send to somebody we snapped at earlier that day.

We kick and scream bloody murder hoping God will let us go about our activities without finishing our sandwhich.

Little do we, that innocent litte two year old, know that that sandwhich holds all the energy and encouragement we need to get throughout the rest of our day.

As I go into a summer full of fun nights with my friends and great laughs with my family I encourage myself, and you as well.

To eat the sandwhich. 

I may be seventeen but I am still a kid.

 
I am terrified of growing up. Absolutely mortified.

But it hasn’t always been that way.

When I was a little kid I would look at all the teenagers and adults in my life; I would think to myself “I can not wait until I am a big kid just like them!” 

Now that I am a big kid I wish with all my heart that I could just simply click my heals and go back to the days when my biggest concern was making sure that I slept with all of my stuffed animals so that none of them felt left out.

But change is inevitable. I am going to grow up. Days are going to turn into weeks, which will turn into months and then years and before I know it I am going to be a home owning, tax paying, hopefully wife and mom to a bunch of crazy litte kids.

People always tell me to enjoy being young, enjoy not having a ton of responsibilities. I always look at people cross eyed when they tell me to enjoy not having a ton of responsibilities. Do they know that I pay for gas, and I have to manage my bank account? Are they completely ablivious to the fact that I have to attempt to keep my room tidy and my clothes clean, my grades up and my social life active?

I have plenty of responsibilities.

But when I step back and think about it, all those adults are right. I should enjoy the responsibilities I have now because one day, in the blink of an eye, I will have a hundred other things to worry about.

Being a teenager today is scary. Our country is accumulating more and more debt our nation seems to be falling apart at the seams, and my generation is the group of kids that is going to be left to try and pick up the pieces.

So yes I will continue to pay attention to the news. I will continue to form my own political views. I will make sure I know how to take care of the basics of being a young adult.

But I will also be a kid.

I will listen to Taylor Swift in the car with my best friend because I like her music. I will snuggle up with my Mom when I am sick because she always knows how to make me feel better, even at the age of seventeen.

And I will never let the fear of growing up stop me from being young.

Accept that you can not do life alone and you are half way there.

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Probably my favorite thing about being a babysitter is that I get the privilege of seeing the kids that I watch grow.

I get to see them through their temper tantrums and their shining moments.

I don’t think there is a single emotion I have not seen a child experience. With everything I see the one thing I do not see very often in young children feel completely and totally defeated.

Yesterday I sat one the floor of a play room covered from left to right in train tracks. The three-year old girl I was watching was determined to build a train track. She even said she would clean EVERYTHING up when she was done, an extraordinarily large commitment for a three year old to make.

As I helped her claw her way through the piles of tracks I encouraged her to try to put the pieces together herself.

The idea of putting a train track together by herself excited her, she wanted to show me that she was a big girl.

That she could do it on her own.

No more than ten seconds into her attempt she looked at me with a face of distress.

“I can’t do it, Sarah.”

I looked at her with a fire in my eyes that screamed “yes you can!!!!”.

I was a tad shocked that she had given up defeat so quickly on something she was so determined to accomplish.

A scenario all too familiar.

That test that I was determined to get an A on until I realized it would require me going in for extra help after school.

That relationship I whisked away after an arguement that lived on a day longer than the usual bickering.

I did not give up on that little girl. I plopped her in my lap and guided her hand to help her understand how the pieces should fit. After a litle guidence and encouragement she did it. She made a train track. And with an exuburant smile on her face she watched Thomas chug down the tracks.

Far too many times I have found myself slumped in the corner, frustrated because things did not go as planned the first time.

Sometimes I have somebody physically there to hold my hand and help me build this track called life.

But more often I find that the Lord has picked me up, plopped me in His lap. And guided my hands to make the pieces fit.

And I will do it and I will thank Him with an exuberant smile on my face. And then the track will start to go downhil, but this time instead of giving up entirely I will turn to my Father and simply bow down on my hands and knees.

I can not do it on my own.

Nobody can.

To the women that has made me the women I am. Thank you. 


I think it is fair to say I am a little biased towards my Mom, but man is she amazing.

Last night as we sat down to discuss our plans for this years Mother’s Day my Mom shocked me with her ideal day.

“I’m so excited! I am going to wake up early before church and make breakfast and then after church we are going to do some housework together and then go on a picnic!”

I looked at her cross eyed. Reminding her that it is Mother’s Day and she shouldn’t be doing work.

She replied to me “I just want to do something with you.”

My Mom has not been handed an easy deck. In the 17 short years that I have known her she has shown me that she is a caregiver, a friend, a mother and and father, a good cop and a bad cop, and a person that loves me more than words can explain.

As I get older and I experience more of life I realize that not everybody has a Mom that will do anything for them.

Not everybody’s Mom will drive to their kids school in the middle of the day just to bring them some Advil for a headache. Not everybody’s Mom will wake up at the crack of dawn just to make sure that they get to school ok. Not every Mom stays up until two in the morning just to make sure her kids get home safely.

I am learning that not every Mom cares.

But mine does. 

My Mom and I do not have to best relationship ever. We are not enemies but of course I would like to be closer. We get in arguements because I don’t put the dishes away on time. She gets mad at me because sometimes I am home 15 minutes after curfew and I do not ask her first. We get annoyed of each other sometimes- but lets face it, that is pretty normal when you live with somebody. But at the end of the day my Mother is the reason I am who I am today.

She is the one that made sure my brother and I got proper counseling when my dad passed away. She is the one that made sure I had rides to my practices. She is the one that drives me to school on rainy days so that I do not have to walk in the rain. My Mom is the person that makes me soup when I get sick, and cuddles with me even thought she knows she will in turn be throwing up 24 hours later.

I lost my Dad at a very young age, and it was awful. I miss my Dad every single day. But God blessed me with my Mom.

Things could ALWAYS be worse. My Mom could have given up on my brother and I after my Dad passed. We could have lost her in a car accident, or a million other scenarios I prefer not to think about. But I still have my Mom.

So this Mother’s Day and everyday, to my Mom.

Thank You.

When my OCD makes me think that nobody cares.

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OCD is not something that I talk about often. It is something that I have just recently been officially diagnosed with but something I have silently struggled with for years.

No my room is not perfectly clean 24/7, in fact more often than not it looks like a tornado came through it. And no I do not have to wash my hand after I touch every door handle.

But I have OCD.

OCD has gotten a reputation. That it is just this thing people have that makes them have to have everything in a curtain order, or that causes them to have to do things a curtain number of times.

Yes, all of this can be true. But it is also so much more.

I obsess over thoughts. Negative thoughts. Thoughts that the world would be better off without me. Thoughts that not a single soul on this earth cares about me.

I have found that it has gotten worse and worse over the months. I have accepted it because I am being treated for it. And I am growing to appreciate it. Because I now obsess over the positive thoughts as well.

A few nights ago as I was sitting having a conversation with two people that, if I am being completely honest, are more like parents to me than anything. I was sitting there pouring out my heart of how I just felt so tired of the constant battle I was facing. I looked up, with tears flooding my eyes, and I saw two people in tears with how much they cared for me. Two people that I thought just put up with me because they wanted to do the right thing were sitting right in front of me, in tears as I spoke to them about how lonely I felt.

I truly did not know that any person on this earth cared about me that much.

Since that day I have not been able to stop thinking about how grateful I am for those two people. Is it healthy for anybody to obsess over any thought? No. Not at all.

But obsessing over my newfound knowledge of the fact that people care about me is a heck of a lot better than obsessing over the idea that I am a living, breathing, burden.

 

I will never be “done” grieving the loss of my Dad.

I have heard it all.
“He is in a better place”

“You should just be happy he isn’t in pain anymore.”

“God took him because he needed another angel.”

I have heard it all.

I know it all.

I know my Dad is up in heaven, pain free, and I know that everything happens for a reason. But I also know I will never be done grieving the loss of my Dad.

I recently moved out of the house that I grew up in.

The house that my Father passed away in.

I was constantly being told that I needed to get over everything. That the house was just a house. One person even had the audacity to tell me that it was “silly of me to get so attached to a house that I knew I wouldn’t live in my whole life”.

Here is the thing though. I lost my Dad at the age of nine. And I am not saying that so I can have a bunch of people throw a pity party for me but more so that people can understand that for a nine year old to loose their Dad with only memories of him being sick they are going to attach to material things.

I attached to my house.

The same house that my brother and I would serve communion in on the Sundays that the family didn’t make it to church.

The same house were ‘Pipers night before Christmas’ was read every Christmas Eve.

The same house that was flooded with family and friends after the funeral.

I am not going to “unattach” myself from my house.

I am not going to stop wearing the t-shirt my dad wore to bed just because it has holes in it.

I am not going to change my screensaver from the picture of my dad and I when I was just a little baby.

I am grieving. I am doing it my own way, and I am doing it in a healthy way given the amount of time since he passed.

So please do not tell me that he is in a better place. I know that.

And please do not tell me that I should just be grateful for the time I got. I am.  I still wish I had more.

I am doing it my own way. I have been doing it my own way for seven years and I am doing alright.

So please. I beg you. Do not tell me I need to be “done” grieving the loss of my Dad. 

Today was a day my depression spiked up. But you would never know it.

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Today was an awful day.

I mean terrible.

But you wouldn’t guess it. Not by looking at me. Not by even talking to me.

Today I woke up to the same alarm as I do everyday. But the moment I opened my eyes I knew what kind of day it was going to be.

I rolled out of bed after five minutes of encouraging myself. I mustered up the energy to go into the bathroom and brush my teeth. I even took the time to take a morning shower in hopes of refreshing myself for what the day had ahead.

It did not help. Not at all.

I got of the shower feeling even more exhausted than I did when I woke up. But I put on a nice often. They tell you to dress how you want to feel. I wanted to feel happy so I put on a nice dress and did my makeup. I put in effort.

Still. Nothing.

I went to school and sat through all my classes. I participated in the class discussion. I laughed at all the jokes. I talked to my peers in the hallways.

But inside I was crumbling.

I came home and went to my tasks. I went to babysit and I laughed and played with the kids. Soaking in every moment, because to me the most joyful thing here on earth is the sound of a happy child.

Nothing.

I went to church and I sang all the songs and listened intently. I prayed asking God to just give me one moment of genuine happiness in that awful day.

Nothing.

You see the thing about depression is that some days just stink. Some days you really do just have to put on your big girl pants and fake it until your head hits the pillow. But that is hard to accept as a Christian. As a Christian I want to just be able to say that it is all in my attitude. That the day is only as good as I make it. That God is by my side so I will be fine.

I think that it is thanks to God that I am able to go through my day without a single soul knowing my world is crumbling around me. Because I know that it is by Gods grace that through all the thoughts in my head telling me I am worthless I am still able to function as an active member of my community.

That, right there, is how you know you have beat depression.