Monday, November 17, 2008


I shouldn't be awake but for some reason, sleep won't come. As I was lying in bed, a memory from this past year came to mind. I'm not sure what sparked it but it made me think.

One night I was sitting in my room feeling unsettled emotions that I could not put my finger on. Jamie came into my room and asked me what was wrong. I told her I didn't really know, I just felt weird inside. She said that sometimes when she is upset or angry, she'll write down everything she can think of that is bothering her and then rip the paper up. I thought it was a stupid idea, so I tried it. I began writing:

Student teaching.
Don't want to teach.
Break up.

I began writing more and more until the entire page was covered with anxious thoughts, hurts, doubts, and brokenness. As I wrote faster I began to laugh...hysterically. I laughed so hard tears started streaming down my cheeks and Jamie looked on at me, laughing nervously. I don't think this was the reaction she had anticipated...but it wasn't over.

I continued to write. I continued to laugh. I continued to cry. And then I ripped the paper up. I ripped it into tiny pieces, somehow hoping this action would rid me of my cares and emptiness, my loss and confusion. It did not. My hysterical laughter turned into hysterical weeping. Months of anxiety, loneliness and hurt uncontrollably flooded out in the form of salty tears and painful sobs. Kristi, who had heard me from the other room, now sat on the floor beside me, stroking my hair and waiting for the pain...or at least the physical signs of stop.

That night I realized that buried burdens cannot go undetected forever. I saw the faces of my roommates and dear friends, wanting to help, yet completely unaware how deep the roots of my pain had buried themselves in my being. And as I layed on the floor that night, I realized that I was indeed carrying burdens but I was too tired to hide them, too weak to carry them, and too broken to fix them.

I'm not sure why that memory came to mind...except tonight I am able to look back and thank God for my brokenness for it has cultivated in me strength, beauty and most of all, faith.

Student teaching...over.
Don't want to teach...don't have to teach. not today
Break up...wholeness.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Well...I've done it. The deposit has been paid, the acceptance has been signed and I'm going to Russia. It is times like these that I realize there aren't enough words...or at least not the right words to accurately portray on the outside what happens within. But I'll do my best, though these words feel superficial and lacking to me tonight.

I am nervous. What will it be like? What if my team members don't like me? What if I don't like them? What if I regret my decision? What if I'm not a good teacher? What if I get hurt, or robbed, or sick? I've never had such high stake butterflies before. I am nervous.

I am heartsick. I am well aware that although I will not be here to share it, life will go on for my family and friends. I will miss barbecues and birthday parties, shopping trips and coffee dates. I will miss meaningful conversations and meaningless joking. I will miss Thanksgiving and Christmas. Just writing that brings tears to my eyes. I ache at the thought of being apart from my family and friends. I wonder how I will manage to make it through the joys and hardships without my mom or dad, brother, or best friends to share them with. I am heartsick.

I am excited. Never before have I allowed myself to so fully let go and trust. I believe God will move and I am excited to see how. I look forward to meeting new people and building new relationships. I am hopeful that I will learn to speak Russian and be better able to communicate with those my heart still aches for. I am confident I will learn, and change, and grow. I am ready to embark on a journey of my that is not prompted by another's interests or direction, but a journey born from my own experiences, woundedness, and calling. I am excited.

But above all, I am hopeful. I am hopeful that a shy, timid girl can find the strength and courage to step out in faith and into the her Father's plans. I am hopeful that a life as ordinary as my own is capable of doing extraordinary things. I believe it is possible to make a difference and I find hope in the fact that this is just another step in the journey, another chapter in the story. And whether this turns out to be the best or worst year of my life, it will also probably be one of the most transformative. I am hopeful.

Nervous. Heartsick. Excited. Hopeful.

All of these and yet so much more.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


"Carry the weight of your brother
Carry the weight of your sister
I'm not afraid to say I don't know

Carry the weight of your father
Carry the weight of your mother
I'm not ashamed to say I don't know, anymore

Carry the weight of your neighbor
Carry the weight of a stranger
I'm not afraid to say I don't know what to do

And so I carry the weight
Carry the weight
Carry the weight
Carry the weight
Carry the weight of each other
Carry the weight of another
I'm not afraid to say I don't know"

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One Step at a Time

The other day I had a strange experience that I can't stop thinking about. My co-teacher Erin and I were herding our children up the stairs towards the playground and I was helping one child (a particularly slow child) climb the stairs. As I held his hand and tried to hurry him along, he clung to the hand railing behind him while his feet moved forward. Clearly this wasn't going to work, so in attempt to explain to him why we weren't making any progress I said, "Carter, if you want to move forward, you have to let go." As soon as my ears heard my words, my heart felt them.

...If you want to move forward, you have to let go....

Can I be honest with you? I so desperately want to move forward but there is still fear in the letting go. How long have I clung on behind me while trying to move my feet forward? And how futile and exhausting my efforts! Sometimes we can only truly move forward if we are willing to let go of the past and those things that hold us back. I'm beginning to feel it now...the letting go. I see the steps in front of me and I'm slowly releasing my grip behind me. What is ahead, I surely don't know...but I'm ready for the journey. So here it is God, help me to let go but don't leave me empty handed.

Failed relationships.

I'm attempting to give it all to you, God. If I reach for it again, take my hand instead. If I look back, continue to nudge me forward. And if I get lost in my fear and anxiety, remind me there are too many things more important than my changing emotions. Here we go, and step at a time.