Fifty-Two Cards in a Deck

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To give you my favorite deck of cards is nothing compared to my heart.
-Jeremiah Grey

I had always dreamed of being in love, married, a wife. The way my life was going it seemed so far into the future, but then God intervened and placed this sweet, weird, handsome man in my path and in fifty-two days I get to marry him!

When I met Jeremiah, I was in no place to be in a relationship. I was depressed, sad, lonely, and just getting back in touch with God, but I was drawn to him and his quirky and different demeanor. It didn’t seem like he was very into me, but we kept getting paired together and I worked hard at trying to get noticed. Through time and unusual circumstances, Jeremiah and I began a journey to becoming the best of friends. Through simple statements turning into all-night deep conversations, I realized that being vulnerable and honest was easy with Jeremiah. We saw sides of each other we would normally hide, but it was refreshing to be so close to someone.

It’s incredible how much things can change over a summer. Jeremiah and I grew so close in those two months, but when the school year started up again everything was different including our church home. This was the place where we met filled with people we though we were friends with, but it just didn’t feel like home anymore and we decided not to go back. I don’t feel leaving was a mistake, but the time it took afterwards to find a new church home was detrimental to our walks with God. We were trying new churches at first, but then grew tired of endless disappointment and eventually stopped looking. Things were going so great for us and between us, the concern of finding a church home was no longer on our minds.

A little over a month ago we stumbled upon a church that was perfect for us, but while attending service on Sundays, I began to feel guilty and far from God. I knew that I needed Him and He would take me back, but didn’t know how to get there. Last night I confided in Jeremiah about how I had been feeling and Jeremiah looked at my tear stained face and told me he had been feeling the same. Together we prayed to ask God to be the center of our relationship and to help us grow together, but toward Him. We want to cultivate a strong Christ-centered marriage. Jeremiah and I know it won’t be easy, but we accept the challenge and responsibility of getting ourselves right with God!

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Finding My Fire

In the throes of trying to make everyone in my life happy, I not only failed, but I also lost the very essence of what made me me. I used to be a quirky, loud, upbeat, and outspoken person. I said whatever was on my mind whether it was through words or facial expressions. I drove with my windows down and music up while singing at the top of my lungs. I wasn’t ashamed to speak my mind or do things my own way. I would always be lost in a book no matter where I was. I was different, but I was proud.

Then people decided to criticize who I was, alter my personality, and shame me. It ranged from serious to simple, but all of it affected me the same. I could see their judgement on their faces and hear it in their voices. So little by little I would just agree with what they said or apologize for doing stuff my way and eventually there was none of me left. Because of this I became confused; I didn’t know what to do or say. I became self-conscious; I tried to pinpoint everything about me someone did or could have a problem with. I became sad; I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t just be accepted as is.

Through months of depression, of hours spent in my closet, of crying myself to sleep, I thought I was lost for good, but God provided me with one person who has the most understanding and patient spirit and who did accept me as is. Little by little, I started feeling more and more comfortable around him and letting him see little glimpses of who I really am and what I really think. He would encourage me to outwardly be that version of myself, because there was nothing wrong with it. Although I still have fear that I will end up doing something that makes him run, but so far he has only been a blessing!

I am no longer going to let anyone or anything alter who I am. I am an outspoken, honest, and blunt person; sorry not sorry if that bothers you. I am a loud, tone-deaf, colorful person; sorry not sorry if that bothers you. I am a bookworm, binge-watcher, and country music lover; sorry not sorry if that bothers you. I will not apologize for or change myself. If you have a problem with who I am or if what I do bothers you, then keep on moving, because this is me and that is how it is going to be.

Not All Things Are Forever

Friends

Life is full of seasons. Childhood. Adolescence. Adulthood. Beyond. To go even further, you can split these four seasons into smaller seasons, specifically Adolescence and Adulthood. Within Adolescence, we have elementary school, jr. high, and high school. Within Adulthood, we start with college and keep on trucking through getting real jobs, getting married, and having children. Through all of these seasons everything in your life tends to change, sometimes you can stop it, but sometimes there is nothing you can do.

Besides us as people, I think our friends are what change the most. Whether it be a dramatic change, a drastic change, or a dreaded change; the bottom line is that not all friends are meant to last from day one to the end.

As we go through life, we face different trials. These trials shape us into different people than we once were and sometimes people who are really close to us do not understand. We can try and explain it. We can try and apologize. We can try and revert to our old selves. But sometimes everything we try and do just doesn’t work.

When it becomes more stressful and exhausting and draining to continue being friends, you have to come to terms that maybe it is just time to go your separate ways. It is never easy to see a friendship go, especially for me, who feels all friendships should be forever, but that is implausible. I have struggled with losing friends and letting friends go for as long as I can remember. I beat myself up over the fact that I cannot make them all happy or, better yet, understand me.

But lately I have been uncharacteristically calm about my friendships changing. I have slowly been growing apart from my close friends from high school and was so scared of losing them, but now I have met new people who I am slowly realizing I am more comfortable spending time and sharing my thoughts with. I am learning to cherish the time I have to get to know them and relate to them while we are all in this time of growing.

It has taken me a long time to come to this point in my life where I am okay with my changing friendships. It can even come as a relief to realize that you aren’t chained for all your days to friends who are not growing in the same way or direction that you are.

Let that sink in. Once I came to terms with the fact that it is okay for not all friends to be best friends and not all friendships to be forever, I could start appreciating the friends I currently have and start building lasting relationships with them.

❀ Lauren

No Longer

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Before July my life was simple.

Before July I was that girl who wished for someone to accept her as is and give her the time of day to express herself and show that she was special.

Before July I was that girl who was sad and depressed, because she felt lonely and like no one cared to get to know her.

Before July I was that girl who never did anything not expected of her.

Before July I was that girl who played it safe by never taking any risks or chances.

July.

Because of July I felt accepted, appreciated, and cherished.

Because of July I stepped out of my comfort zone, tried new things, and was open to different perspectives.

Because of July I was sappy, smiley, and chatty.

Because of July I was able to unleash a part of myself I never felt comfortable with.

Because of July I let myself be vulnerable, be hurt.


Before January I was that girl who had never been in a relationship.

Before January I was that girl who was always single and was never pursued.

Before January I was that girl who was afraid of being touched, of letting people get close, of intimacy.

Before January I was that girl who had never kissed, cuddled, or slept over.

Before January I was cautious yet hopeful.

January.

Because of January I felt special, wanted, and attractive.

Because of January I have now kissed, cuddled, and slept over.

Because of January I can no longer identify with the girl who has never been in a relationship.

Because of January my view of love and relationships is skewed and altered.

Because of January I am confused, hurt, and cynical.


Before February I was that girl who was just best friends with a guy.

Before February I was that girl who was lost, confused, and hurt; obsessing over what happened and what went wrong.

Before February I was that girl who would have frowned upon what I am feeling now.

Before February I was that girl who knew what she wanted and would have stood up for it.

February.

Because of February my feelings are all out of whack.

Because of February I am questioning everything.

Because of February I am not sure where I stand in this thing we call friendship.

Because of February I feel I have to contemplate labels and what they mean to me.

Because of February I keep asking what I want, what I feel, and what I think.


Truth is: I just don’t know.

You Should Always Feel Like A Somebody

Everybody is a Somebody

Have you ever been with another person or a group of people and felt invisible or inferior? This happens to me a lot, but at the same time I know I am guilty of making others feel this way. It is a bully complex- making those around you feel like nothing in order to make yourself feel like something.

It makes me sad to think that I behave this way, because I am insecure with who I am. Lately, I have been learning about real, genuine friendship. I have been having to accept that people cannot be everything you need or want, but they also cannot fill the places where you feel empty. If I don’t want people expecting me to be perfect and put together then I can’t expect that from them.

One thing I have realized is that I have the power to be an amazing friend. Through experiencing so much true friendship in the past few weeks, I feel so loved and accepted for the reasons that make me, me! I have decided that I want to make everyone feel like that, because everyone deserves to feel like that!

I feel that I possess so many qualities that I can funnel into being a person who makes everyone feel important, because they should know that they matter. Whether that is just giving someone the time of day, smiling at a stranger, or giving a friend some tough love. I don’t want to sugar-coat my relationships anymore; life is just too dang short.

So it doesn’t matter if you have hurt me in the past or we have gone our separate ways or we are growing apart… whatever the situation, I don’t care. I am over holding all of these negative feelings against each other. I’m not perfect. They aren’t perfect. I want to spend time getting to know people and really, genuinely caring about them. I want them to know I am there for them no matter what (and mean it!).

Here’s to cultivating good, deep, genuine friendships!

❀ Lauren