Tag Archives: pain

What 2014 Gave Me

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I used to love sitting in English classes growing up, and learning what all the different literary terms meant. Does that make me kind of neeky? Who cares ?! If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you’ll know that I’ve come to be at one with the neekiness I exude. Anyway, back to my point, as any true literary neek, I had a few favourites (yes words, I’m not a ashamed to say that I have favourite words) that made me feel super smart just knowing. I’d get a bonus warm fuzzy feeling inside if I could identify them in people’s writing, and then I really hit the jackpot when I managed to use them in mine. I’m sort of drifting off and making this post about my love for English but I promise that it eventually becomes about what 2014 gave me. I would say my top 3 were onomatopoeia, just being able to spell it was a triumph in itself, all the different types of alliteration, and the coolest one of all…oxymoron.

Using moron in a serious piece of work was quite comical but once you get passed the immaturity of a year 7 (is that when you learn these words or have I just revealed the immaturity I tried to suppress?) you realise that oxymorons are just pretty cool all by themselves. How can you be describing a situation or an object as being polar opposite things at the same time and that be the perfect description? The wonder will never leave me on that one, I don’t even think I truly captured just how accurate oxymorons could be until I lived out 2014, which I can only describe as the most famous oxymoron of all time: bittersweet.

I’ll start with the bitter, but I have two disclaimers

1) I have never been a woe is me kind of person and 2014 did not turn me into one

2) This isn’t meant to sound like a moan, it’s merely part of the synopsis of my year.

I think back to who I was at the beginning of this year and the girl that stares back at me in the mirror is not the same. Partly because she’s gained a stone but anyway, new year-new me-better food choices-intense gym workouts… I digress. The girl that started 2014 was confident in her abilities, pretty much had a 5 year plan in place, and was for the first time enjoying university. I had a conditional graduate job in the pipeline, was finally on track to getting those grades that the conditions depended on, and I felt like I’d finally let Jesus sit in the front seat of my life. Then March came and housing issues were forcing me to make decisions that I didn’t want to make.

Every turn seemed scary or selfish and the stability I stood on slipped away from underneath me with a single rose letter. The next blow came a few months later and in the summer the punches came fast and forceful. Grades weren’t met, job offer was revoked and rent and bills reached out their hands while I had nothing in my pockets to fill them with. 2014 was painful, some days I smiled through it and others left me weepy, with my time with Jesus giving me the morsel of joy I used to get through the day. This year there were points when I didn’t think things could get any worse, but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about God, he will turn your situation around in a matter of moments.

The sweet came in the latter half of the year, just in the nick of time. I apologise in advance for the vomit you may feel as you read this paragraph. Four days after I found out that I hadn’t achieved the grades I’d been praying for and I could only hold my breath as life hung in the balance, I met the guy that became my best friend and my boyfriend all in the next month. Whirlwind romance much?! Waiting for a job and wondering how I would afford to live was coupled with falling in love and wondering how I could be so lucky. There’s a paradox if there ever was one. The good times kept on rolling, when a few weeks later I got a job that would pay me enough of a salary before rent was due. It hasn’t all been hugs and butterflies but the job I started in September taught me so much about what I’d like to do with myself, I can only chuckle at the career plan I started the year with.

So there you have it, the good, the bad, and at points the very ugly. Despite how bad it got, I’m so glad for the things I get to walk into 2015 gaining.

Resilience

But those who wait for the Lord ‘s help find renewed strength; they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings, they run without growing weary, they walk without getting tired. Isaiah 40:31

Patience

A person plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Hope

And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, Romans 8:28

A fresh perspective

Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but he was born blind so that the acts of God may be revealed through what happens to him. John 9:3

Sometimes crappy things happen, the going gets tough and we search for God in the midst of our madness. I know it’s corny but it’s true when they say that without a test you won’t have a testimony. This year I learnt that we live to bring glory to God. It might not be fun, and sometimes it might be we well and truly painful, but the whole essence of our beings has a purpose rooted in bringing God the glory. I just wanna give a shalla to the people that were there for me this year, the friends that gave me a shoulder to cry on, the boyf that gave me his hand to hold, the God that promised this year wouldn’t defeat me. I love you all and I’m so grateful for the gifts that 2014 gave me.

Happy New Year in advance

Dani xxxxx

The Day I Got Stabbed

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So I was meant to write this post last week but the wound was still so fresh, I wasn’t able to sit down and write down my thoughts in a way that didn’t sound like ghu;hwgljfshldjhsljh;roh;odhowo;hf. However, this week, I feel a little stronger, I am present, I am in the room; I can tell you about the incident.

You never think you’ll get stabbed. It’s one of those things that happens to no one you know but crops up on the news  every now and again. Even when you hear of such news you almost brush it to one side, safe in the knowledge that such a calamity could never come upon you and yours.

Well, it happened to me. It wasn’t dark. It wasn’t a stranger.

I was stabbed in broad daylight.

….Okay, okay, okay.

I wasn’t literally stabbed, (…and the award goes to Dani and Joy for the most misleading blog titles). I’m glad the expression ‘stabbed in the back’ exists because in four words, it encapsulates the events of last week (okay, it doesn’t but hey, Y O L O). I wish this were the kind of blog where I could go on to detail exactly what happened. Alas, it isn’t that kind of party. I’m still trying to get to grips with this whole ‘living life online’ stuff and the sharing part still creeps me out a little bit. Plus, I love those involved too much so I’ll save the gory details for my private speak with God. What I can share on this blog are the whirlwind emotions that I felt after the incident.

(Sidenote: my nails keep breaking – this has nothing to do with the post but if you are reading and you know of anything that will stop them from falling apart, I’d really appreciate it if you could let me know)

So let’s kick off with the first emotion:

SHOCK.

Imagine walking straight into a knife. Imagine a knife being plunged into your back. Imagine being let down. Imagine whatever you want. Basically, I was shocked when everything came to light. There was disbelief before any other emotion as the bubble I was living in was violently popped.

ANGER.

Real anger. Rage. But it was momentary.

PAIN.

You know that moment where you realise that the people you love the most have the power to hurt you most?

Yeah, that.

We build high walls around our hearts and watch new people struggle to get over them as they seek to love us, know us and become close to us. We make it difficult because of the pain that has gone before; we want to make sure that if they enter the areas closest to our hearts, they will protect us instead of hurting us. Sometimes we get it right, we choose wisely and they are only a source of joy. Other times we get it wrong and all we can do is wish that we had built the walls a little higher, or held out on letting them because maybe, just maybe, time would have revealed the cracks in the foundation we were building with them.

FORGIVENESS.

Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.

Luke 8:28

I prayed. I prayed hard. I prayed with tears in my eyes. I prayed because it was what God wanted me to do. I could have held onto my anger but instead I chose to let it go.


There is small part of me that wishes I had stayed angry. I wanted to withhold my love and I wanted to leave because I am so very tired of being hurt by those I hold close to my heart. But God demanded more from me. To leave would have been easier, to love was is much harder. But I am thankful. Above all, I am thankful. I am grateful for the growth that I can see in myself; the Joy of yesteryear would have burnt that bridge and never looked back. I realise now that as Christians we are meant to build bridges, not burn them. I realise that when I have nothing more to give, I need to draw from God’s love and then give some more. I realise that the anger I feel is often just pain and my God is able to take away every hurt.

I know it sounds pretty rudimentary, but the sooner we let go of all that bitterness/pain, the sooner we will heal and the better we will feel. Although people will keep stabbing us throughout our lifetime, I think we decide whether we bleed out or not.

All my love,

J xxxx

How To Deal With Pain Properly

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I am in pain.

Okay, that’s not entirely true.

I am currently quite alright – I’m listening to Donald Lawrence’s ‘There Is a King You’ which always makes me want to run out into the big, bad world and CONQUER. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like this at every point in the day. Actually, my current pain is like an inconsistent guy, coming and going as, and when, he pleases. I’m never quite sure when the memory of last week’s events will wash over me and cause my eyes to sting so I am never quite prepared. This pain can only by medicated God and time so I am currently allowing both to work on me.

If you’re reading this and you’re in pain, I am really sorry that we are sharing this boat – it’s not very comfortable, it’s incredibly insecure and most of us would rather drown as swimming to the shore feels like too much effort (why am I so dramatic?). However, I want us all to swim and win so please keep reading, I may have found us a route to the glorious shore.

You can do quite a few things with your pain:

1) Ignore it

Ignore the hurt, ignore the negative thoughts and do your best to pretend that the pain is as real as Narnia. Those who wronged you/those who you wronged are not addressed and life continues as it always has; nothing changes because nothing has changed…right?

2) Pretend that everything is okay

This is slightly different to ignoring the pain. You recognise that something bad has happened and acknowledge that you are very upset about it. However, rather than express this thing to God and to a few close loved ones, you pretend as though you are fine. You cry at night and smile during the day, which, of course, is a great way to deal with things!

That’s a joke by the way – one of the worst we can do during a painful season is to pretend that everything is okay; not only is it exhausting, it is also self-destructive.

3) Face it

Now, now, now, this is not an excuse to throw a pity party; pity parties are morbid events which should only occur in dire situations, as infrequently as possible and for (very) short periods of time. When I say ‘Face it’ I mean that you should do your best to objectively assess the situation:

            What could have been done differently?

            What have I learnt about myself?

            What have I learnt about those involved?

            What lessons is God trying to teach me?

Finally, you should ask yourself whether you are crying about it more than you are praying about it. I think too often we spend more time crying about our problems than we do praying about them. So pray about it and let God know how bad things are, don’t hide from Him because:

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

Praying for you and I,

J xxx

Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?

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There’s a thin line between a performance to yourself and one to an audience, even an audience of one. It’s weird because so much is the same; it’s you, doing what you do best( or at least pretty well) but the first is like a self assessment and the latter invokes enough fear to cause your fingers to cramp and your heart to beat rampantly in your chest. What changes things? In that moment after you’ve performed your heart out, when there’s an audience we either let out a sigh of relief or release one of disappointment depending on whether our performance is followed by applause or the lack of it. How good we feel is decided in a matter of moments as people shower us in praise or choose to avoid eye-contact.

Lesson of last week: In life we live for the applause, the glory that comes from our personal achievements but as Christians the purpose of our lives is to glorify Jesus. Everything that happens to us from birth to when we bow out is for God to receive heartiest claps and the loudest shouts of praise.

My all time bible hero is Job. Job had faith. Not the kind of faith that is here today and gone tomorrow when the going gets tough but the kind of unwavering faith that has chosen to serve God no matter what, whether there’s joy in his heart or pain, whether he’s at a loss or period of gain. Job had faith.

If you don’t know about Job I’ll set the scene. Imagine your rich. Not ghetto fabulous rich that culminates in having a Louis Vuitton belt and an enviable shoe collection. The type that sees your children study at the most expensive schools in the country and pays for your ten bedroom house and puts the petrol in your recently shined lambo, and even sees all of your extended family with food on their tables and money in their bank accounts. Job was that kind of rich, and to top it off, he loved God. He knew where his wealth came from and served God with all his heart. However, his story soon changed when the devil started teasing God.

Here Job is, chilling in his richness and acknowledging his father in heaven that he’s dependent on, while Satan is roaming giving him major side eye and looking for a way to disgrace God. So Satan says ‘Listen God, you may think Job loves you, but I guarantee he’s just like any gold-digging human out there. As soon as you restrict his access to his cash, take away that family he loves so dearly, leave him in a place of desolation and grief, he isn’t still going to holla like he does‘ what God says in response shocked me forever and changed my perspective on life. God says ‘Oh you think so, ok take ALL those things away from Job and see if he doesn’t praise me all the same.’

So that was it. While one messenger was being the bearer of bad news and telling Job that he’d lost his riches another was arriving to say he’s lost his children, until heartache by heartache, Job lost it all. His money his loved ones, everything he’d ever worked hard for in this life and not only that God had commissioned it.

He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return there. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. May the name of the Lord be blessed!” In all this Job did not sin, nor did he charge God with moral impropriety. Job 1:21-22

We claim to live to give God praise but so many serve him in the hope that they’ll get enough things from God so that others will give them praise. Christianity is turned into a motivational too that is all about moving up in the world, but numbers of people lifting their hands depletes when worlds come crashing down. Last week was one of those weeks for me. I could see the world around me slowly crumbling and I had to decide if I was still going to seek God amongst the rubble. My logic was: You knew this would happen God, you gave me no warning and you didn’t save me, so why should I get down on my knees to praise you? My heart hurt and I didn’t feel like God was all too fussed. Just when I was about to have a sulk, my mind wandered to Job. Job wasn’t just attacked by the devil, his attack was commissioned by God, and when he rubbed his eyes in the midst of his own rubble, he didn’t see a God who had betrayed him, but a God whom he owed his life to.

So many of us lift our hands and claim that we’d serve God no matter what but are you ready for Satan to call your bluff and for God to agree. God was so confident in Job because God saw his heart, would God have the same faith in you being able to see yours? Are you in the faith while it’s rosy but ready to switch religion or give God the silent treatment as soon as things don’t go your way.

There’s a Newsflash that we can’t afford to miss: we live to bring God glory. If we also get a hand clap or some appreciation along the way then that is a bonus but it is not a requirement. Christ sacrificed his entire life for our sins but the moment we have to sacrifice our friends or our jobs or our families for him, it all becomes too much and we consider turning back on the road to him. But why? Glory belongs to God and we live as part of his masterpiece.

 

Let God’s will be done always, and glory be to him forevermore. Amen

 

Love Dani xxxx

 

 

Why I’ll Never Go Back To My Ex

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Relationships. Hard work, aren’t they? The (secret) reason why the majority of RomComs end with the first date or the wedding is because after the initial whirlwind romance, things get tough. Relationships are challenging paths walked together by two completely different people with beliefs, experiences and outlooks on life that they held prior to their meeting. No matter how similar you think you are, on that rocky, challenging road all will be revealed. Oh, of course at the beginning things are amazing – beautiful dates, late night calls and those warm, fuzzy feelings but unfortunately, that doesn’t last forever. Each person stops being the best version of themselves and slowly the cracks in the relationship begin to show and within these cracks lies the truth about how different you both really are.

And then it begins: the phone calls that end with someone dropping the phone abruptly instead of with an “I love you”, the tears on the phone because there are no words that adequately encapsulate the hurt that you feel and that awful moment where you are deciding whether to stay or leave. Ah, yes, relationships are tough which is why most do not survive. Most of us are too selfish (sorry) to really handle relationships and these days, more emphasis is placed on our individual wants, needs and goals than the necessity of compromise and therefore the likelihood of a relationship becoming and remaining a success decreases.

Ex is a term that is usually used to refer to a former sexual or romantic partner, especially a former spouse but it can also refer to a variety of former relationships i.e. an ex-friend (I stole this definition from Wikipedia, sorry God). Since each relationship is inherently different, the reasons for their dissolution also varies. Even though some reasons may be looked upon by outsiders as minuscule and easily worked through, to the parties involved the reasons usually justify the break-up. Anyone who has been through a break up knows how dark those first days/weeks/months can be, so dark that the need to pick up the phone and run straight back into the arms of the one you once loved can often become overwhelming.

I think during that dark time we so often forget that the said ‘ex’ is an ‘ex’ for a reason. Yes, we miss them and during that period we long for their presence again but does that mean that they should still be in our lives? Well, of course you’re saying ‘no’ at the moment but I’m sure you can easily recount moments where you’ve given into your emotional urges and gone back to the very person you once cried to be saved from. Some relationships are poisonous and yet we continue to consume them in the hope that one day our stomachs will accept them. The truth is, those relationships will never sit well with us because they are not meant for us.

I was reminded of this when I was reading my Bible last week and I was astounded to see that the Israelites wanted to go back to their exes too. The Egyptians had enslaved the Israelites and during this time of pain and agony, the Israelites cried out to God to save them. Eventually God heard their cries and sent a man named Moses to deliver them. Eventually, the Israelites were set free and ran outta there so fast (in the most dramatic exit known to man), happy, rejoicing, praising God and finally able to walk with their heads held high (Leviticus 26:13). Unfortunately it didn’t take long before the grumbling began; suddenly it dawned on them that they had no idea where they were going. Feelings of uncertainty and fear settled within them and they began to question the God that had set them free and the man that was leading them.

What’s the point in the LORD bringing us to this land? To die by the sword so our wives and children would become war victims? Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?

Numbers 14:3

During their dark time (post break-up), they began to long for a time that they were in chains and in pain; fear of the unknown made them look back and idolise a time they once cried out to be saved from.

The pain of missing someone does not mean you are meant to be with them, it simply means that they once held a special place in your heart, and that in itself is not a good enough reason to walk back to them. People don’t say this often but the truth is, pain can be good for you. Pain shows you exactly what you can live through. As humans we search and crave for happiness but it is in the moments of profound pain that we grow the most. It is when there is no certainty but God and we are literally clinging to his every word that we begin to find who we are meant to become. That is when we realise that there is a call on our lives, that is when he becomes our light in the tunnel and at the end of it, and that is when he shows us glimpses of the greatness he has placed within us and the glory he intends to reveal in us one day (Romans 8:18).

…You are not to go back that way again

Deuteronomy 17:16

I’m talking about that job you hated but offers security, friends who say they you love but attack your character and ex-spouses that have no idea how special you are and therefore treat you kinda badly. You are not to return to the things that you once asked to be saved from because you do not belong there anymore; you are not to walk that way again. You do not fit there and if you try to make yourself smaller to resume a position that was not actually created for you, you will hurt yourself. The relationship may have worked before but there is a reason it stopped working: you changed. And that’s okay. You grew. And that’s even better.

There are many people that I miss, so many relationships that I wish I could still hold with both hands instead of reminiscing about them during solitary moments but if I was meant to be holding them, I would be. If I was still meant to be walking with them, they would be here and our lives wouldn’t be taking such different paths. Every time I get that desire to run back to those people and paths, I remind myself that what God has for me will always eventually be mine and I continue to walk forward on the path he has destined for me.

Lots of my love,

Joy xxxx

I Was Rejected By The One … And I Survived

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Rejection is no easy subject to write about and to be quite frank, the negative events that sprang to mind when thinking about what to write were enough for me to put my laptop away and pretend I didn’t have a blog. Forgive me if I don’t do this post justice – it has taken me a long time to find the words. Forgive me also if I don’t use the most interesting event to illustrate my personal encounter with rejection– all my juicy rejection stories were just too intense to share on a Friday morning.

My oldest sister once wrote that we live in a society that allows us to bare our midriffs without hesitation but often restricts how we express our pain. Although she wrote this many years ago, the words continue to resonate with me (especially as summer is approaching and all I see right now is bellies, bellies, bellies). It is easier to talk about the mundane occurrences of life than it is to unpack that darkness that exists in each and every one of us. For this reason, we don’t talk about our rejections in day-to-day life. I rarely hear people say that they feel ‘rejected’ because I guess in many ways, it just sounds way too intense and heavy. However, if we take a second to look across our lives, there exists the moments where only the word ‘rejection’ sufficiently encapsulates what happened.

My rejection from the One stung. It broke, challenged, affected me and caused me to question my worth; for a long time I didn’t speak about it. To be honest, I haven’t told anyone spoken about this for the past 4 years. Maybe I’ve been repressing it; this blog keeps forcing me to tell my life stories sighhhh. 

I was in my 2nd year of Sixth Form and university applications were in season. As usual, I wasn’t taking the whole thing very seriously and despite my straight ‘As’ at AS Level I still didn’t quite believe I was smart enough to apply for any of the best universities; I couldn’t face the rejection or the possibility that the Unis could somehow know that my grades were indeed a fluke. So when the head of my Sixth Form began to speak of Oxbridge applications, my mind switched off (as it does quite frequently) because those kinda Unis had nothing to do with me.

My Mother (as usual) had other ideas. She told me that if I applied to Cambridge, she would pay for my driving lessons. It seemed like a good deal – all I had to do was send off an application and in exchange, I would take an intentional step towards my driving dream. My Sixth Form’s deadline for Oxbridge applications was in two days, so after school the next day, my friend and I went to KFC and stayed there until about 8pm and I wrote my personal statement. I had no idea what I wanted to study or why I wanted to go (perhaps because, in hindsight, university wasn’t for me) but I wrote what I thought sounded like a plausible argument and submitted it.

To my surprise I was invited for an interview and somewhere between my application and my interview, during those months filled with hope, prayer and preparation, Cambridge became the One.

Receiving my rejection email was horrible. Despite learning of the rejection while I was next to my then best friend, we didn’t have the sort of friendship where intense emotions were expressed so I read it to her but showed no outward emotion; she didn’t know that I was inwardly breaking down. As soon as I got on that bus, away from her and away from my pride, I cried. Oh, I cried. Shameless, hot, angry tears, which in hindsight, had a greater connection to my beliefs about myself than the rejection itself.

I’m not really sure how I went from being completely indifferent about Cambridge to believing that it was meant for me, but that’s life, isn’t it? One minute it’s just an application/ an encounter with a stranger and before you know it, the application is the gateway to your dream job and that encounter with the stranger becomes the way you met the love of your life. I think that is why rejection is so profound and deadly – there is no way to prepare for it because we don’t know who or what we will attach ourselves to and how that attachment will impact us.

Over the past few months, I have once again encountered the snake that is rejection but I’ve learnt to deal with it differently because of my current beliefs:

1) Where I am is where I am meant to be

On the days where nothing is happening, our minds can sometimes wander back to our defining moments; we think about what we could change in order to make our present moments better reflect where we thought we would be.

I want to put my belief to you:

There is nothing that occurs without God’s permission – the good, the bad and the ugly stuff. This belief usually causes all kinds of uproar because we have some ugly things happening in our world and some even uglier things happening to us; despite this, I still hold this belief.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Romans 8:28

The rejections from potential lovers, family members, friends and dream jobs will one day make sense. Maybe not now and may not for a while, but right now, in this very moment, you are where you are meant to be and all things are working together for your good.

2) God isn’t like those other humans

If you’ve been around the block a couple of times you will be aware that is often the people closest to us that end up hurting us the most. Even when we try and teach ourselves to expect the worst from people, rejection from those we love always has the capacity cut us deeply and viciously.

My experience of God has always been different.

Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.

Psalm 27:10

I love this scripture because it basically says that even when the people who were created to love, nurture and protect me abandon me, the Lord will hold me close. Despite having amazing parents, this verse still holds true for me. There have been times where my parents have done things I never thought they would do but this verse continuously picks me back up and reminds that it doesn’t really matter what they do because the Lord welcomes me with open arms and will touch my wounds with His love.


The fear of rejection often causes us to settle for things we know aren’t right for us instead stepping out in faith and reaching for the things we desperately desire. In those moments of fear we have to remember that God calls us to live boldly and we cannot let the fear of rejection cause us to lesser lives. Being rejected is never going to be easy but in the midst of the pain, regret and anger, always remember that you have someone on your side that will never reject you while you are alive and able to connect with Him. Your CV is good enough. Your personality is just right. Your flaws are beautiful to Him.

All the love I can muster on this day,

Joy xxxxxx

 

 

That Time I Wore An Invisibility Cloak To A House Party

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I loved Harry Potter growing up. Despite Mum telling me that witchcraft was real and I was frolicking with darkness, I devoured those books in secret, loving the places that the author allowed me to go. In my heart, I became Harriet Potty, Harry’s black adopted sister who was facing a similar fate to Harry. I waited for my letter of invitation to Hogwarts for many years; I waited, hoped and hoped some more but nothing ever came. I was devastated. For some reason I wasn’t eligible for this amazing school of witchcraft and wizardry (in hindsight, I thank God that I wasn’t) and I was forced to live life as a muggle with no special powers. If someone had told me back then that one day I would have the opportunity to wear an invisibility cloak (like the one Harry had), I would have cried tears of joy. Yeah, I’m not the coolest person. 

The first time I wore Harry’s invisibility cloak I was 18 years old, walking around Fresher’s Fair, hungover from the night before. The room was loud and obnoxious to my fragile ears and eyes and it was then, as I walked around the room crossing the paths of hundreds of people, that I felt like no one could see me. The noise and the loneliness finally overwhelmed me and I ran back to the safety of my room, where the loneliness could feel more like a choice than a bullish reality. From that day, the invisibility cloak was no longer Harry’s, it was mine and it became part of my being; not a part I loved but a part that I accepted. I never willingly put it on but after a few attempts of trying and failing to be seen, I stopped trying to take it off and let it merge with my being. I became smaller, fragile and timid.

University, for me, was the biggest hype of LIFE, the biggest hype known to man, known to beast, known to every single living thing. Adults and recent graduates told me all sort of folk tales about their university experience:

You will LOVE it, they said.

You will meet your lifelong friends, they said.

You will meet the love your life, they said.

You will never want to leave, they said.

I experienced none of the above.

University was a trying experience, a time of painful growth and acknowledgment of my flaws. Although it was necessary, I did not enjoy it. You see, in that very first year of university, I wanted to be seen because at that time in my life, being seen would have meant feeling alive, and this was a feeling that often eluded me during this time.

One night I was at a house party (it was really just a boring gathering in a house which was located in the middle of nowhere – I really wish people would label their events correctly: rave is different from house party which is different from gathering; I am too tired of this false promotion), insecure, sad, lonely, and once again wearing my invisibility cloak. I couldn’t seem to take it off, people just kept walking past me. I spent the night in the corner of the room on a chair, with my friend (who had friends there) every so often remembering that I was her +1 and asking me if I was okay. Every time I lied and said I was; I was lonely and on the brink of tears, but I still had my pride! Needless to say, that night goes down as one of the worst house parties I have ever attended.

Later that night, my friend and I got lost (yes, the night got worse) and we wandered around Manchester at 3.am (don’t tell my mum!), looking for a cab, a bus stop or a friendly stranger who could point us in the right direction, which was of course unlikely given the time. With nothing left to do but walk and talk, we began to share our problems and fears with each other in a way that we had not done before. We both fought back tears that night as we told each other how miserable, invisible and alone we felt every single day. Despite knowing deep down that we had so much to give and so much to offer the world, we only felt small and insignificant.

All I wanted that night was to be seen, to be spoken to and to be acknowledged. To this day I can still remember that painful feeling of loneliness and literally counting down the hours until I could be at home in my bed, crying to my then boyfriend about how horrible my life was (notice I wasn’t crying to God about this invisibility problem – this was definitely part of the problem). I’m sure some of you reading this are thinking “look at these first world problems, girl you should have just spoken to someone!” To be honest, I wish I had been brave enough to. But then, if I had, I wouldn’t be sharing this story.

Some of you are wondering whether this post will tell you if I finally took off my invisibility cloak; it does, keep reading!

The next year I gave my life to Christ and began my pursuit of him. God began to break me apart in order to build me back up again. He had to break me apart first because there were deep-rooted lies I believed about my worth and my significance and those lies couldn’t co-exist with his love and belief in me. One day I was reading my Bible and I came across this verse:

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

John 1:48

Before Philip called Nathanael, before Nathanael knew who Jesus was, Jesus saw him. Jesus had his eye on him, Jesus was interested in him and Jesus had already chosen him. Jesus saw him. As I read this scripture, the penny dropped: Jesus sees me too.

When everyone in the room is talking and I’m being ignored, Jesus sees me.

On the days where I don’t feel good enough, Jesus sees me.

On the days when I do not feel as though I can compete, Jesus sees me.

On the days where I only feel anxious and unsure of myself, Jesus sees me.

I am seen.

The good, the bad, and the things I hide from other people because I fear I will be judged are all seen by Jesus and yet he still wants to know me. This truth helped me to take off my invisibility cloak. It wasn’t some great big reveal, it was a slow and painful process where Jesus took it the cloak apart piece by piece until suddenly, I could see myself the way he did.

So to you, reader, the one that feels invisible, as though you don’t matter. You do.

To you, feeling overlooked, you are seen.

To you, in pain, you are seen.

To you, overwhelmed, you are seen.

To you, invisible, you are seen.

To you, insecure, you are seen.

Jesus thinks you’re enough. He loves you. He sees you.

All my love,

Joy x

P.s: I have included a song which I used to sing  and wish could be my reality. Now it is and I thank God. Hope it helps you too xx

What I Learnt After I Got My Heartbroken

Heartbreak-300x224

I think it’s strange that we only associate heartbreak with ex-boyfriends and girlfriends. I’m sure you clicked this link to read all the gory details about a relationship you probably didn’t even know I was in. The truth is heartbreak doesn’t just happen after the dissolution of a relationship. The first time I experienced heartbreak, I was 17 and I’m pretty sure I was still invisible to the male species. It was during that period of my life, which was shrouded in darkness, that I realised that heartbreak doesn’t just occur after the love of your life leaves you. It happens when your Mum dies unexpectedly. When you find out your best friend has been sleeping with your husband. When the friend you relied on for everything stops talking to you without explaining why. When your Dad leaves you and your mum and starts a new family. When Shonda Rhimes kills your favourite Grey’s Anatomy characters.

Heartbreak reminds us that we are only human. Our hearts stop being that organ keeping us alive and morphs into that pain in our chest that has the capacity to overwhelm us every time we mentally relive the moment everything changed. Our hearts suddenly have the power to cause our eyes to sting, water to fall and to make us feel as though we can’t breathe.

 

And then it passes.

 

 

Well, sometimes.

 

The pain can be momentary but during the heartbreak season, the line between psychological pain and physiological pain can become blurred as both your body and your mind fight to tell their side of the story and let you know how awful things really are. I’m talking about the depression, the anxiety attacks, the trouble sleeping, the disinterest in everything that once made you feel alive and the tears, oh the tears…the real ish we keep to ourselves because it’s not as easy to talk about our pain as it is to discuss clothes, shoes, bags and the weather.

I think it is only as I began rise out of the heartbreak season that I began to grasp the transient nature of seasons and storms; although I had fallen (hard), there would come a time when I would rise again. With every passing day I became harder, better, faster, stronger (omg, a Kanye reference on the blog, FINALLY) and my perspective on life changed forever. I realised that there would always be good in every bad situation and bad in every good situation because no season can ever be completely bad or good – just as I was able to see light on my darkest days, on the best days, the darkness could sometimes still be felt. Once I understood this truth I began to see the season differently which gave me the strength to crawl on the days where I did not feel as though I could walk. On those days I would say to myself ‘this too, shall pass’.

Since then, I have come to know that all I see around me shall pass. The places that feel like home, the people I find home in and all the things that give me that sense of belonging I can’t help but crave, shall eventually pass. New things will replace them. This has caused me to have a deeper appreciation of moments; whenever I feel happiness, joy, peace or contentment, I inhale the moment. I breathe them in. I make them last for as long as I can, knowing that as that breath passes, so will the moment. It doesn’t diminish the feelings or the moment; rather it reminds me to hold every beautiful moment as best I can because it will pass and within hours become a memory.

If you are in the storm, this post is probably as source of comfort. However, if you are enjoying your life, living well and breathing easily, reading this may be a bit depressing as you realise that this season will inevitably end because no season can ever last forever.

 2 Corinthians 4:17

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

When things are amazing I look to God. When things are bad and I feel like I can’t breathe because my problems and fears are suffocating me, I look to God. The author and finisher of my faith, the one who knew every moment I would ever hold and the one who knows which moments I will cling to until I learn how to let go. I look to the One who does not pass.

Lots of love,

Joyboy xxx