Monday, November 9, 2009

"so breathe, life will surprise you."


I think religion is the stupidest thing ever invented but I love Jesus with all of my heart. My mom does not understand this concept and is constantly telling people that I am a "very religious" person... this drives me crazy. It literally makes me want to throw up. Jesus exists outside of this religion box that we have put him in.

Anyway that was a tangent... I say that because I roll my eyes or stop listening the minute someone says "as a Christian I....." but I am about to start my next sentence off like that so please just love me through it. :)

As a Christian I have found that each “season” of my life has been extremely important in shaping me into the person I was created to be. The times when I turned away, gave up, decided I couldn’t do it anymore… God was there and I had no idea. I thought I was the one that chose whether or not God was working in my life but that is not the case.  Each season has been a critical part in me learning who Jesus is, why he loves me, why he loves murderers and criminals and politicians and my bratty little brother, who I am, and why I have love and compassion for people. Sometimes I get mad at my heart for having love and compassion for people, people I have never even met, people who deserve clean water and don’t have it, people who have been hurt, people who have no idea they are desperate for God, murderers, criminals, politicians, and my bratty little brother. I am learning that I have a heart for these people because God has a heart for these people. I am realizing that every season I went through meant something in the big picture and each of those seasons is helping me now in this transition time in my life to reflect back on them. So that is just what I am going to do. I have to warn anyone reading… this post is probably going to be pretty long…

Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.


I am in love with this sign and it describes my whole life... every season of my life. First because it is the first thing you see when you are walking into Disneyland and well... im obsessed with that place and always have been. Second, because I live in a world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy and hardly ever find myself in the reality of today. I always have. It is a problem... but im not working on it. Because I like living this way. :)

-The running through sprinklers season.
This has been the longest season of my life thus far and lasted the first 10 or so years I existed on this earth. I aspired to be a dinosaur, danced around in my room to Spice Girls music, had my first ever crush (benny the jet rodriguez... oh man, i was in love), and fell asleep watching Jesus paint trees. (I thought Bob Ross was Jesus) I was content being a kid and I had no idea there was a huge world out there waiting for me. There was already a battle going on for my soul and I was oblivious to it all. 
Oh and I kinda thought I was the little mermaid...

I was a spoiled only child that my dad could never say no to. I never got grounded, never got yelled at, and the one time I got spanked my dad cried and never punished me again. haha.


Oh and when I was 3 years old I got the bestest friend a girl could ask for.

When I was 8 my mom came back into my life and my little brother was born.

- The Becoming a (broken) person season.
When I got to about 5th or 6th grade I had a desperate need to be popular, to be one of the girls with the pretty hair that the boys hung out with at recess. By the time I got to 7th grade that is exactly who I had become. I was on the cheer team, had cute guy friends, and girl friends that had pretty hair too. In 8th grade I discovered make up and alcohol and grew up way too fast.
Apparently we thought we looked cool back then. haha

Basically my life was slowly starting to look like this movie. I had no idea who Jesus was. I believed God created the earth and thats all. I didnt realize that my heart was longing to know him. And as I started my freshman year of high school I was content with the way my life was going.

-The overwhelming stage.
I was ready for high school to be full of boys and parties. And it probably would have been that way had God not been at work. Because what I wasnt expecting was to walk into my theater class one person and walk out someone else. I wasnt expecting to have a theater teacher who would stop at nothing to make sure I knew who my savior was. I wasnt expecting my theater teacher to be this guy.....
He invited me to YoungLife every day and I never wanted to go. Whatever it was... it sounded pretty cheesy and that was not going to help my popular cheerleader image. But somewhere in between being the one teacher I could actually talk to, and the teacher who made my acting more like Julia Roberts when it started out like Kristen Stewart, he finally convinced me to go see what this YoungLife thing was all about. So the first monday in december with my best friend at my side, i went to my first YoungLife club and that very weekend I ended up here.....
Now to say this place has made an impact on my life is an understatement. I had no idea the first time I went to Lost Canyon that it would later become my favorite place in the world, that it would become a place where ive had more laughs and tears then anywhere else , where I would meet some of the most important people in my life, and where I would make all of my life changing decisions. There are a million beautiful pictures I could have used to show all of Lost Canyons amazingness but this picture seemed most appropriate. That weekend my freshman year was the most amazing weekend of my life. At that time Lost Canyon pretty much only consisted of a couple cabins, a lake, and a dining hall that was also used as the game room and club room. It has been a blessing to watch this place grow into what it is today. Anyway that weekend changed my life. I had never heard about Jesus, about how he gave his life for me, and about how he longs to be in a relationship with me. It was all overwhelming. I cried more than I thought humanly possible. 
It is there that I met these two. They embraced me as one of their own children and I spent more time at their house, eating their food and watching their t.v. then I did at my own house. I have no idea where I would be without Craig and Cheryl Morgan.

-The good christian season.
Although I loved the Jesus that I heard about that weekend I honestly didnt understand what a relationship with him looked like. So I became what I thought a christian was supposed to be. I thought it meant going to church and not cussing so much and not making out with all the boys I could get my hands on. To make sure I lived up to my good christian image I kept myself as busy as I could so I didnt have time to fail. The rest of my freshman year and my sophomore year were filled with school, YoungLife, cheer, soccer, church, youth groups, and bible studies. I was so wrapped up in trying to be what I thought a Christian was supposed to be that I started judging people who didnt live up to those standards. I was judgemental and hypocritical and it was soon going to wreck me.
The squad at a basketball game my sophomore year.

The best friend and I at camp summer after sophomore year.

-The f*#k everything season.
This is the time in my life that for the longest time I thought God wasnt present at all. That I had pushed him so far away that he stepped out of my life and waited until I called his name again. Its obvious to me now that God was there through all of it. He was in the middle of all my pain with me and brought me out of it. Because there is no way I could have brought myself out of that mess. When my junior year started I was sick of being the good christian girl. I missed going to parties and having gossip and jumping from one boy to the next and basically being a high school kid. I was so sick of being the good, boring kid. I started going to parties again and began drinking every weekend and loved being the funny drunk girl. Every weekend turned into every day and school was something that I went to twice a week. Alcohol soon became not enough for me and drugs became my new favorite. I was having "the time of my life" and yet I still managed to hate everything about myself. 

I also died my hair like 3 times a month. My dead follicles still hate me for this.


P.S. I was ridiculously high in this picture.

If my life were a slogan at that time it would probably be something like this.

-The "OMG I finally get it" season.
The amazing thing about God is he is working most when we think all hope is gone. YoungLife as a ministry means so much to me because when I was a crazy alcoholic teenager and everyone else turned their back on me, YoungLife was still there and remained the one consistent thing in my life. I knew these people geniunely cared for me and even when I thought the whole God life just wasnt my thing I kept going. I had YoungLife, I had Cory Beal, and I had Craig and Cheryl Morgan. All of my decisions were slowly catching up with me. I couldnt do it any more. I couldnt keep going on with life as unhappy as I was. It was the summer of my junior year when Craig Morgan called me and said "Im the work crew coordinator at Lost Canyon for the next 3 weeks. There is an extra work crew spot and youre going. Pack your things, Im picking you up tomorrow morning." Um... what?! I would have said no but Craig made it clear that it was not my choice. I was going. Those next 3 weeks were amazing. I met people who I am still best friends with to this day, and I got it. It all finally clicked. God was passionately in love with me and I didnt have to be perfect to love him back.
 
This picture means the world to me. It makes my heart smile and break at the same time. It makes me smile because I remember sitting on this bed taking this picture like it was yesterday. It breaks my heart because the girl in the front of this picture is Courtney Stewart and she passed away earlier this year. She was in the same car as the angels pitcher that passed away so I learned about her passing by turning on the news and seeing her face on my t.v. screen. Courtney, as well as each and every one of these people that I served with that summer will forever have a piece of my heart.

Oh the pitts.... where I met my best friend. How did I ever live in a world without Kaitlin Carbone?
The rest of my summer was filled with adventure and happiness. I came back from those 3 weeks with a new heart and a new pair of eyes. The world and the people in it were suddenly beautiful. I was ready to give my life to God and let him work through me to bringing his beautiful people back into his arms. 

-The learning to live and love season.
I was ready for life. Although senior year was rough (I had to work my butt off to graduate because of the whole junior year never going to school, failing all of my classes thing) I was ready for God to use me.
Just another day in Physics.

Oh hey, its the nerdy theater kid at the thespian conference. :)


The summer after my senior year I did work crew again. This time at Crooked Creek in Colorado. It was another month full of amazing people and ridiculous growing happening in my heart.
And then I started college and went on to staff for YoungLife. Oh and these 4 are just a few of the amazing high school girls I have had the pleasure of getting to watch as they fall in love with God and grow into beautiful young women. :)

-The rough patch season.
With God being the main part of your each and every day, it makes even your rough patches not so rough. So when I was struggling with having friends who lived a "normal" college freshman life while I had responsibility it was ok. My favorite person in the world, my grandma was dying. Cancer was taking her away from me and I couldnt even imagine a world without her in it. God used this time to teach me how to trust him in difficult times. He taught me the importance of community as I leaned on friends to help me through it all.
Far West Valley leaders. Leader weekend '07

And God cheered me up with things like walking out of my front door to see this painting he made for me. 


-The Constant Joy season.
I survived my first year as an adult and I learned the difference between happiness and joy. I remained joyful throughout my rough patch. That summer I did summer staff at Lost Canyon.
Dear Jesus, you are beautiful. 


Dear summer staff 2008 I love you all to the stars and back.

-The old married couple season.
There was no doubt that I was in love with God, but the honeymoon was over. I loved him enough to spend each day with him but the passion was not always there. I was complacent. But God is amazing and life with him means even the ordinary routine is a beautiful twisty turny life.

Officially a grown up. This is me and Britney after we voted for the first time ever. (oh hey, mr. president.)
"Its the answer that led those whove been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day." 

More beautiful high school girls that let me be a part of their lives. 

20th birthday at disneyland.... im 20 now? no way.... 

-The ridiculous amount of learning and growing season.
I have learned more about who I am this past summer than ever before. To list all the things God taught me would take days. I learned how to keep that fire so instead of having the "old married couple" relationship with him I have the "old married couple from the notebook minus the amnesia" relationship with him.
I was on a pink jeep tour in Sedona and the driver stopped so we could take pictures of the mountains and red rocks. Instead I looked back and took a picture of the long windy road.... because (and I know I am super cheesy for even thinking this) "its not the destination that matters, its the journey."
Oh and then I lived here for a month and Jesus yet again wrecked me with love.

And gave me even more people to lie awake at night praying for and missing so much it hurts.

Jonas Brothers summer concert tour for the second year in a row? yes please. My little sisters are not so little anymore. They are becoming people with thoughts and emotions and the best senses of humor in the world.

Grocery shopping before a day at the lake. The rest of my summer looked like this...

... and this. Coloring dinosaurs. Does life get any better? I submit that it does not.

-The better than a fairy tale romance season.
This season of my life is hands down my favorite so far. I am crazy in love with God. He romances me every day with all the blessings and beautiful things he fills my life with. 
College weekend '09

Hello present day me, I like you.

-The um.... no effing clue season.
So I have all these plans and passions and how I want the next season of my life to look like. But I still have no idea what God has in store for me next and how it will look.
I really hope that whatever the next season of my life looks like, it makes my heart feel like this. 

3 comments:

  1. i think i loved this so much because it was all about you. and you pretty much have my heart.

    and even though i was a "good girl on paper" pretty much my entire life, i can wholeheartedly relate to all of those seasons. sometimes my seasons were layered on top of one another...like the "my boyfriend is better at loving me than God is" season being on top of the "depressed insomniac poet" season. and OF COURSE we both thought of our lives in terms of seasons or chapters...we already knew we are the same person.

    blahblahblah all this to say i LOVE you and your crazy life and i want to be part of all the rest of your seasons somehow. thank you and farewell.

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  2. I LOVE IT!!! It's even better when taylor swift is in the background...i love you rikkigarcia.

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  3. okay. i love you. youre such a rockstar. so cool to see how God has moved you.

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