I forgive you.

[soundtrack]

I’m really bad at this whole “blogging” thing. I always have a second of inspiration but then I get sidetracked and never end up writing anything. So, to the one person who will probably read this, thanks for reading. This blog post is going to be very raw. I’m not going to hold back or hide behind the phrase “I’m fine” anymore.

The last 5 months have been some of the darkest months of my entire life. It started with a guy. We met in August or September. The extent of our friendship was talking about Fantasy Football, he always helped me set my lineup each week because I was completely clueless. We were friends and nothing more, until one day he started getting a little flirty. It was around my birthday, so I assumed he was just trying to be nice. I thought he was cute and definitely wouldn’t mind pursuing something, but it just stayed as flirting for a few weeks.

We started to talk on the phone pretty much everyday, began watching Netflix together, and threw around a few “I love yous” here and there. It’s safe to say that I was falling for him. He knew what to say to make me smile, even at 3 AM when I woke up because of a nightmare. He came out of nowhere and was just perfect to me. I was hesitant to fall, though, because of my unlucky past experiences with guys. I’ve been heartbroken too many times in my life to just give myself to someone else, but for some reason, it seemed so easy with him.

This guy and I had some mutual friends at the time. I remember talking to one of them, really excited about this new potential relationship. I started telling my friend about the overwhelming butterfly feeling that I had. I was absolutely beaming. I don’t remember how long it had been since I was that happy. Unfortunately, that feeling was quickly crushed. “You’re talking to him?” my friend said. “Don’t you know that he’s been sexting…” The sentence hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t want to believe it. There was no way that the sweet boy I was falling for would do that to me. Not even just texting….but sexting?  No way.

 

I didn’t know how to take the news. I didn’t know how to confront him about it. I was angry and confused, but mostly sad. I felt so betrayed, but I didn’t even know if it was true. So, I did something crazy. I asked the girl. We were friends (sort of), and I thought I knew her well enough to get the truth out of her. I sent her a text and asked if she had been talking to this guy and her response was, “Lol yeah, we send nudes like everyday”. I have literally never wanted to break my phone more than I did in that moment. The sadness turned to intense anger. How could he do this to me? I began to re-evaluate everything. What was he doing after he said goodnight to me? Was he really going to bed when he said he was tired? Clearly not. I was pissed. Seriously. Pissed.

It took me an hour or so to formulate a complete thought. I knew that I had to talk to him about it. I sent him a message, just saying “Hi”. I don’t remember his exact response, but it was something like “Hi baby” or something like that. My heart melted, of course, and it took me even longer to bring up the subject. When I asked him if it was true, he immediately denied it, which I sort of expected. I was also texting the other girl at the same time because she said that she would ask him if he was seeing me. He denied that as well. This man was literally texting both of us the same thing, denying any sort of relationship with the other. He didn’t know that the two of us were talking.

Long story short (too late, right?), he eventually admitted to it. The other girl completely cut him off and said some pretty mean things to him. I can’t lie, I agreed with what she said and he deserved to hear it. I can still remember how awful I felt that day. There was a lump in my throat and a horrible feeling in my stomach. I didn’t think it could get much worse, but it did. I found out he has a girlfriend……of 5 years. Just when you thought the story couldn’t get worse, right? You think you know somebody. Not only am I hurting because he was messing around with another girl who I considered a friend, but he had a girlfriend too? So he was cheating on her with me? Never in my life have I felt so disrespected or betrayed….but I also felt incredibly guilty. I know that I can’t blame myself for him cheating. I had no idea. But, I still felt so disgusted with myself. I decided that it would be best for me to cut him off and to move on with my life. This was way too much drama for me to deal with and I was heartbroken.

Not talking to him lasted about 3 hours. I felt bad for him. Why? I have no clue. But, I felt this overwhelming urge to forgive him and to just be his friend. It didn’t make sense. My brain knew that I would just be opening a new can of worms, but my heart was telling me to look past the whole situation and be his friend. I did a really great (not really) job of putting on a smile and pretending like everything was okay. I prayed for him and went on with my life.

Except, I didn’t go on with my life. I cried on and off for weeks. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat.  The weight of the guilt was overwhelming. But, that wasn’t what was keeping me up at night. I still loved him. I still wanted to be with him. After all that he had done, I still thought that there was a chance for us. I don’t know why. I’m not a stupid person. I knew logically that pursuing something with him would be the worst idea. I mean, HE HAS A GIRLFRIEND. HE IS A CHEATER. HE BROKE MY TRUST. HE CRUSHED MY HEART. Why would I want to be with a guy like that? To this day, I still don’t understand why.

There is so much more to the story, but I’m at peace with everything that I’ve chosen to share in this post. I’m still struggling with these feelings and this whole mess. It takes a lot for me to put on a smile everyday. It takes a lot for me to pretend like I don’t care when I see him tweet or post a picture on Instagram. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I don’t know why I can’t move on. I spend so much time in prayer about this and nothing is changing. All I can do is just press on and try to get over it.

I know what I’m worth. I know that this is something that I didn’t deserve, nobody does. I know that there is somebody out there for me. Somebody who would never even dream of hurting me this way. I really can’t wait to meet him.


To the guy (because I know you’re reading this),

We have been through so much together in a few short months. You have brought me so much joy. So much laughter. So many inside jokes. You have also broken me, time and time again. But, as I’ve told you…I will continue to put my feelings aside for our friendship. It’s a long process, but I promise that I’m healing. I don’t want to stop talking to you – every conversation just brings so just brings so much happiness. I love when we get to hang and watch Naruto. I love roasting you about your poor choice of sports teams. I love our deep conversations and hearing your heart about the church. You are not the person that you think you are. You’ve messed up. You’ve hurt me a lot. But, I know that you are trying really hard to be a good man. You ask me about my day. You show genuine interest about my life and everything that I’m involved with. I see your effort and I really appreciate all of it. I know that you made mistakes. I know that you have owned up to them. I know that a lot of people hate you for what you did to me, but I’m not one of them. I forgive you.

Advertisements

Why Ukraine?

I’ve been home from Ukraine for 37 days and still cannot wrap my head around the fact that I’m not there anymore. It’s not really a feeling that I can describe, because nobody would understand unless they experienced what I did while I was there. There is literally not an hour that goes by where I’m not thinking about something we did, someone I met, or anything relating to this beautiful country. But, the question I’m still asking myself is, “Why Ukraine?”

I’ve been involved with missions since I was 14 years old. My first four trips were to Peru and each trip was special in its own way. There was never a doubt in my mind that I was meant to serve in Peru and I wouldn’t dare to imagine going to another country for a missions trip. My love for Peru was (and still is) strong. It was in Peru where I heard the Lord speak to me for the first time. It was in Peru where I discovered my burning desire to share the Gospel with people. I witnessed God do miracles in Peru. I began my missionary journey there, so of course it held a special place in my heart.

I went to Peru for 4 consecutive years and honestly, I never thought that the “end” of my trips there was anywhere in sight. I planned to keep going and going until I just stayed there forever, I guess. Things changed quickly. God closed the door. I was devastated. What would my summer be like without going to the place that I loved the most? Summer of 2015 ended up being one of the best summers that I can remember. I graduated from High School, went to a bunch of graduation parties, went on a few vacations, and spent a lot of time with my friends and family. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Summer quickly came and went and then it was time to move into my dorm for my first year of college. Southeastern University – my dream school. I was overjoyed to be there. One of the reasons that I chose SEU was because I had researched their missions program and I was blown away. This school LOVED missions. I knew that I needed to be in an environment like that. In September, there was a whole week dedicated to missions, where all of the trips were revealed and students were able to sign up. Because I have overwhelmingly good luck, I was very sick on the night that we were meant to sign up and was unable to attend the event. Luckily, a friend brought me a list of the teams and I was able to start making a list of places that I wanted to go. Over 60 trips were being sent out, so I had a lot of choices. I was reading the list and saw a bunch of amazing places – Haiti, Egypt, Kenya, Germany, etc. Then, I reached the end of the list and saw Ukraine. There was absolutely no way that I would go there. I knew about the war going on in Crimea and I definitely didn’t want to be anywhere close to a war. So, I told God no.

He had other plans. For the next week, Ukraine was literally the only thing on my mind. God kept telling me to send an email to the team leader and ask when the first meeting was. I kept saying no. God kept saying yes. After days of wrestling back and forth, I finally sent the email. I attended the meeting and didn’t know anyone. It was so awkward. I told God no again, but little did I know that the 5 other people at the meeting would quickly become my family. Long story short, I committed to the team the next day and began my journey to Ukraine. Our team met weekly to pray and discuss the details of our trip. It was still quite awkward for me initially, because I still didn’t know anyone. Slowly but surely though, we all started hanging out, grabbing dinner, and just being intentional about getting to know each other more. I was just amazed at how God orchestrated our team – there were so many different strengths and talents among us.

We spent months preparing and finally departed on May 11th, 2016. It was a looooong day full of traveling, but the moment we landed in Kiev is something that I will never forget. I was terrified. Why Ukraine? Why was I in this country that I didn’t know anything about? I only knew about 10 words of Russian, so it’s not like I’d be able to communicate with anyone. I tried so hard to shake the feeling, but I was filled with so much anxiety. I genuinely believed that I wouldn’t make any friends or connect with anybody.

We were in Ukraine for 10 days, which were (to date) the best 10 days of my life. The friendships that I made are so genuine and I’m thankful that I’m still able to keep in contact with the people that I met. I look at the pictures that I took everyday and still can’t believe that I had the opportunity to visit such an amazing place and meet amazing people. God did so much while we were there and it was just unlike anything that I’ve ever experienced. My heart for Ukraine was changed.

A year ago, I never would’ve believed anyone if they told me that I would travel to Ukraine and actually enjoy it. While I was there, I asked God why he was so insistent upon me going on this trip. He said, “I know you love Peru, but don’t limit yourself. You are going to go around the world.”  I’m not sure if I’m going to go to Ukraine 4 times before God calls me somewhere else, but I’m excited for the journey that lies ahead. So, why Ukraine? I’m still not sure, but I’m glad that I obeyed.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

 

Click the link below to watch a video summary of our trip!

 

The beginning.

Happy 2016, everyone! I hope that the first week of this new year has been wonderful and that you’re all sticking to your New Year’s resolutions!

I’ve been wanting to start a blog for years now, but never found the time to dedicate to it. A friend of mine said recently, “Everyone is always putting things off because they don’t have time, but imagine what would happen if we made time for the things we wanted to do.” His words struck me and I realized that I can’t keep using my lack of time as an excuse. I mean, I am a college student and I’m busy, but that won’t be my answer anymore. 2016 is going to be a year of change for me.


A phrase that has been hitting home with me lately is “Do not worry.” I’m going to be very blunt and transparent…the last few weeks have been extremely rough. Would you be able to tell from looking at me? Probably not. I’ve mastered the art of smiling through the pain.

My heart has been full of worry. How am I going to raise enough money for my Ukraine trip? How will I afford my college tuition? Is God hearing my prayers? I have a fear of uncertainty. I don’t like being unsure what might happen in the future. I want to be able to control every single situation of my life and tailor it to fit exactly what I think is best.

That’s my problem. I want to be in control. I want to make everything happen. I want to be the one to make the plans. It’s like I’ve completely forgotten I belong to God and that he has great plans for my life. He knows what’s best for me, even better than I do.

Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.”

1. With all of your heart

What does it mean to trust God with all of my heart? It’s not just simply saying that I trust him. It’s not telling my friends that I trust Him.  It is being willing to let go of situations and knowing that He will orchestrate it into my life if it’s meant to happen. It’s doing all of these things with an unwavering willingness and zeal.

2. Lean not on your own understanding

It’s so easy to be completely fixated on what I want. I get so caught up in what I think is right for me and then become angry at God if it doesn’t happen. I rely on myself to make things happen when none of it is in my hands. It’s so so so crucial for us to put ourselves aside and allow the Lord to work. We need to remember that what we think is the best might not be the best. Believe it or not, God DOES say no. We need to learn to trust that He knows what He’s doing. We are a product of God’s own handiwork. We were sewn together in our mother’s womb. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. He isn’t going to make any mistakes.

3. In all your ways, acknowledge Him

With everything you do, acknowledge Him. Recognize Him as God and acknowledge his authority in what you are doing. Whatever you’re doing, EXPECT God to direct you. Expect a movement in your life that is more than you. When you do this, things like fear, anxiety, and worry start to disappear because you aren’t doing everything on your own anymore. You’re able to watch God work in your life and in your situations. You’ll stop second guessing and doubting yourself because you’ll know that it was God who did it all.

I want to challenge everyone to stop worrying and start leaning on God in 2016. Let go of your desire to be in control and take a seat on the passenger’s side.

Colossians  3:15

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”