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.

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.

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.

 

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.

How do you get air out of a glass?

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It is a simple question. But you either know the answer right away or you are, like me, completely clueless. 

The first time I was asked how to get air out of a glass the first thing I thought was you can’t. Then I thought of breaking that glass. Or maybe taking some sort of vacuum? Turning it upside so nothing can get in?

If you don’t know the answer don’t worry. I will tell you.

You fill it with water.

It’s a metaphor, you see. The glass is life. The air is the struggles of life; the cancer, the murder, the sadness and pain. In order to get rid of the air you have to fill it with water, the positive.

Yes, you are still going to always have a little air, unless you fill it to the tippy top. But that is ok.

Bad things are going to happen. You are going to try and move your glass and it will shake, and water will spill out. But do not worry! There is always more to put in it!

When I first heard this metaphor I kind of let in go in one ear and out the other. It was interesting but I did not feel it applied to me. I truly did not believe I had the power to find the good in bad things.

Then one day I was sitting in English class and I started to have a panic attack. My first thought was “Ok, I know that I have the ability to excuse myself from class, so I will just go down to my counselor and process it out.”

Then I had another thought.

“I do not want to miss the information she is giving us right now, I need to try and stay. I will try that silly glass thing.”

I sat there and said to myself that I was grateful for my anxiety because it taught me how to be more understanding of others. I said to myself that If I could just get through the rest of that class then I could do anything; that I was grateful for the support I could go to but that I was grateful God gave me the strength to get through it myself.

I have not missed a single class due to panic attacks since then.

Not only that, I have mentioned the simple metaphor to multiple friends and even adults. Just the other day I got a text from a friend saying that thanks to the metaphor she was able to push through an uncomfortable therapy session.

Everything in your world might be falling apart. And you might be questioning if things could possibly get any worse. The truth is, yes, things could always get worse. But no matter how tall and wide your glass of life is, you can always fill it with water. You just have to do a little searching first.

Why I Will Forever be Grateful for my Abuser.


I am not one to say that the guy that abused me is a bad person. I believe strongly that he is a good person with so much weight on his shoulders that he doesn’t know what else to do but to hurt others.

I would never, in a million years, wish abuse on even my worst enemy.

But I will forever be grateful for the man that abused me. 

He taught me how a guy should treat me. Because yes, at the beginning he treated me like a princess.

He taught me how a guy should not treat me. Because yes, he used me and my vunerability many times.

He taught me that I can do better for myself. Because the day that I, by the Lords grace, was freed from that relationship was the day that I learned just how much I am capable of.

I know it seems odd to be grateful for being in an abusive relationship, and for a long time I wasn’t. For the longest time I let that relationship hold me captive. I let the things he had ingrained into my brain sit there for years after I cut ties with him, I was a victim of his long after I stopped communication with him. But here is what I have learned.

I was abused. It happened and there isn’t a single thing I can do about it. It will always be a part of who I am and that is ok. It is what I do with it that matters.

I could very easily crawl into a metaphorical hole and never talk to a single boy again, or I could use it as a warning sign. So that if I see a boy doing this, that, or the other I can stop in my tracks and walk away before things get complicated.

I could extremely easily be infuriated at him for the rest of my days, and nobody would think twice about it. But that wouldn’t get me anywhere in life. It really does take more energy to be angry than it does to forgive. The guy that took advantage of me must have had some extremely difficult things going on in his life that caused him to treat me and other girls the way he did. 

I pray for him. 

So are most people grateful for abuse? No, probably not. But this is what I have learned about life. Everything that has happened to you has happened. You can’t go back in time and change it. You can’t reverse it. God does what he does when he needs to do it. It’s what you do with those situations that truely matters. 

So to my abuser. 

Thank you.