sometimes you win, sometimes….you don’t.

it has literally been one of those weeks.
where everything seems to be falling apart and hope isn’t even a visible reality.

i started my week off by trying to do lunch with a group of my peers after church. needless to say, i was very excited because honestly, i never get invited to anything right? so i drive across town to the designated location and i get a text “oh hey they’re too full, we’re going to this other place” okay cool, they’re right next to each other so no biggie just hop over one parking lot and bam i’m there.  i didn’t see anyone else i knew or any cars i knew, so i went inside and asked the hostess if there was a group of ladies somewhere i was meeting them. she led me over to some people i didn’t know, and the whole time i’m scanning the establishment, looking for the people who invited me…nothing. “oh maybe you’re the first one here!” she said, “yeah maybe” i whispered, with a sinking feeling in my gut. so i decided to go back to the front and i had no service so i walked out the front doors thinking i would wait there while i tried to text the people i was meeting. that was when i got the text that said, “hey we actually invited other people and forgot and now our table is full…sorry”  

i fought very hard to hold back the tears that were threatening to escape and made my way back to my car where i replied and started heading home. once i got home, i was very glad that i was alone so i could have my mental breakdown alone in private….that’s where the whole week started.

Monday morning i came into the office and after being there for not even 5 minutes, my boss calls me into her office to let me know that she decided my backup would be handling all of my work for that day and i would be doing regular phones.  there were things i had been in the middle of and with no advanced warning, this decision stressed me out very very much….cue the madness.
for whatever reason, our numbers have dwindled at my workplace and no one new has been hired, add to that the fact that a quarter of our people were out due to illness or vacation or other reasons and the phone calls were a NIGHTMARE. 

The week continued with Tuesday where the person who is my backup hadn’t gotten to everything that needed to be done…so not only was i starting off with a full work load, the phone calls i normally take were out of hand. right before i left for the evening, i had a super awkward run-in with one of our supervisors who, for some reason, feels the need to micromanage what i do everyday even though she is not my immediate supervisor. i brushed it off and went to the gym and knocked out a solid 2 miles on the dreadmill. felt better about things and i went to bed tired.  got a text at 3am that woke me up (which rarely happens) announcing that my roommate got engaged that night. okay that’s cool, go back to sleep. nope…. body wouldn’t let me. so i tossed and turned from 3 til 6:30 when i finally forced myself fully awake.  i got up and went about my day, completely exhausted. after another long and exhausting day at my job, i met up with my friend to run before homegroup. she announced that we would be running outdoors to which i immediately got nervous (aka: i’m the biggest klutz and there is snow and ice) but i did alright. the run was horrid and my breathing was basically the worst it had been since i started running. okay great news i have a 5k saturday outside… time to freak out. i’m not qualified for this. who am i kidding? i’m not a runner. (and on it went)…but i left and went to my homegroup where we had an average evening. i was tired beyond belief and really couldn’t handle anything else (definitely at capacity here, especially emotionally) so i bowed out without really having a chance to hang out with anyone and no one even noticed that i left. *shrug* didn’t really care, i was tired. came home, literally took a 5 minute shower, then crawled into bed, turned my electric blanket on and fell asleep. 

Thursday goes about the same, including an even more stressful day at work with my customers and the regular phones still being insane. I get home after having a confrontation with the crazy supervisor from earlier in the week and really need to just be with people so i don’t lose it. i find out one of my roommates is home and get excited. ask her to go out somewhere with me for dinner. her response is yes, then other people come home and she says she feels too ill to go with me now..um…okay wow. <— my response. i left and sat in a coffee shop all alone for 2 hours with a chai tea and a book. came home and went to bed about 9:30pm.

Friday…just as crazy of a day and ALL DAY LONG, waiting and waiting for a response from someone i ended up getting a crush on. this is what happens when i let my heart give me hope, waiting forever and ever. still waiting as i write this blog actually. so the entire night has been filled with anxiety and aching feelings in my heart because guess what? once again on a Friday night, i literally have no one who wants to hang out with me. after 3 years in this forsaken city, i can’t keep believing it’s my fault anymore. i have tried. again. and again and damnit i have TRIED. if Sunday’s events were not an indicator of the way people here treat me then i don’t know what would be. the thing about the events of this week is that this is how life has been for weeks. months even. and it has WORN me down, down so much that i can scarce believe sunshine is real anymore. i scarce see joy as something i can actually know.  

don’t get me wrong, i’ve had moments of victory and a few moments of joy…mostly this has been an actual week from hell. i actually HATED my job this week. going into work stressed me out and being there made me so upset i couldn’t eat normally. i just want something to happen. something to change. can it PLEASE be spring and can there PLEASE be a dawn in my life because i truly cannot take it anymore. if ever there was a limit for a human for what they could handle, surely i’ve passed it by now.  

end ranting blog.
now i have to go to bed because tomorrow is an early morning because apparently i’m going to attempt running a 5k in the cold and snow….outdoors in Wisconsin in February. if ever i questioned my sanity, this would be it. 

and this life sentence that i’m serving, i admit that i’m every bit deserving

the lights went dim. there was a hushed silence in the crowd as all eyes were glued to the stage.
my breathing was shallow and my heart pounding. as i brushed my hair back from my face, the volume in the arena climbed higher and higher. showtime was upon us. i cast a side glance to my roommate and grinned…. it had been such a long time since i was breathing in the beats of a drum in pure joy. this night was different. something had changed.

rewind to several weeks prior:

“do you want to go to the show with me?” my roommate posed the question and i could tell she was hoping i would say yes. i replied indicating that i needed to check my calendar and make sure i was able to get off work. that meant i had at least 48 hours of time to make up mind. 48 hours to cry, pray, rage and sit silently. it was never a question of whether or not i would be allowed vacation time at work– it was always a much simpler question is my heart strong enough for this?

when i gave my final answer a few days later, i said yes. inside, i was still incredibly hesitant and fear was extremely overwhelming.  it had been almost 3 years since i had seen this band live and it was a self-imposed hiatus of sorts. i was tired of being seen as a freak for loving music and my heart had long since given up on still loving one thing that pushed me towards grace and redemption. in short, i had been judged for things in my life that are and will forever be part of my story.  to this day i hesitate to share my full testimony with people because i still fear being rejected as i already have been so often. even leaders in my life give me that look when they find out the truth. there was a time when i rebelled against letting people in because the fear of being judged and rejected was too terrifying to face… but now it’s almost worse. i had started to see myself the way their judgmental eyes saw me… and i ran from it. ran from the music that once meant so much, ran from the melodies and lyrics that once upon a time saved my very life.

i could never understand, why the people in my new city, my new home preached grace so strongly and then never extended it. why speak something that you claim you believe in deeply and then turn around and judge someone by one part of their story? this question burned at me for months while i struggled. why didn’t anyone in this city seem to want to know me? then came a summer with confrontation. i met my fears head on and saw myself presented with an ultimatum: conform or leave– there was nothing else in life for me so i chose to conform.  i spent the next weeks and months fighting my way through the steps, the moves to a perfected dance, half asleep and never truly living.

somewhere in the death of my winter my life shifted. i moved into a new situation and a new home, began forming relationships with new people and started to crawl back to some semblance of myself. around this time i entertained a visit of a dear friend and at every turn she reminded me to really live, forcing me to be honest and teaching me, always teaching me something about fear. before i knew what happened, the summer flew by and with it many memories and…for the first time, i fell in love. now i won’t sit here and romanticize it for you because that’s not how it happened and if you know anything of my life, that’s not how it ended. i do not regret it because i came alive many times that summer.  in the end, my depression caught hold of me and it wouldn’t be until October that i could breathe again.

in October i got in a car with my youngest sister, drove 8 hours to a city i’d never set foot in, and spent a whirlwind of a week breathing, crying, gasping. that week was full of mistakes, full of joy. i shared honesty in personal ways i never had in my whole life and a very dear friend allowed me to hold his baby girl. in the end i would break down weeping at unexpected moments in the days to follow my return home. i took a two week break from social media and returned from the desert in the power of the Holy Spirit so to speak.

November and December passed by in a blur, and two over-exaggerated holidays with them. my heart began shrinking back to dark places and my roommate persuaded me to see the Disney movie “Frozen”… i didn’t realize someone could write a children’s movie to so accurately depict so many aspects of my life. i saw hope in a way i hadn’t for weeks…but it didn’t take the enemy too long to stifle that and remind me what winter really is– dark days, cold days, empty days. i began training for a 5k hoping to find release in the monotony and challenge. this is where the decision came to me– “do you want to go with me to the concert?”

the night was so different than i expected, nothing like any show i had been to before. there were only 2 groups i was very familiar with, two others who i knew of, but only from a childhood of listening to Christian radio stations and an empty seat beside me since my roommate had not yet arrived with her group.

apprehension flooded my heart and i sat in my seat, sipping water and constantly texting with my best friend, sharing pieces of honesty but still putting on a brave face.  fear was settling in and suddenly the first band was performing. instinctively i longed to escape the crowd and be somewhere secluded…i knew that was not even an option this night. instead, i whispered the name of the One who knows me better than i know myself and opened my trembling hands, letting my heart go free.

and i sang. and jumped. worshipping, i screamed the lyrics of truth so loudly i nearly lost my voice before it was all over.
the safety in being anonymous in a crowd was the freedom i exactly needed that night, to not be known to be glossed over. to others sitting near me i was just an overexuberant female thrashing around and flinging her hair to the beat.

but to Jesus, i was His.
that was enough for the moment.

i’m still not sure exactly where i am in this season, and yes the days and nights seem to run together. passion to breathe seems to be a figment of the past, but there are days ahead and there are nights coming soon. there will be tears as there always are and there may even be laughter in the places i least expect it. if there is one small hope i have learned to cling to after 23 years of fighting for my life, it’s that the winter doesn’t last forever, spring will come.

as one of my favourite quotes states it:

Aside