I didn’t Choose

Warning: The following is really personal. It’s more for me than for you this time. And if you are a younger reader, it might be a little bit uncomfortable for you, and that’s okay. Don’t feel like you have to read it. I talk about sex.
If you are a survivor, know that this post is a lot darker than my usual ones and doesn’t have a happy ending, but that doesn’t mean your stroy can’t be different.
Background Info Part 1:
A few weeks ago, I was listening to a podcast sent to me by my mentor/friend, Katie, and it made me think about successful women. I cleaned my room, listened to the podcast, and thought about the women I wanted to be like, and what it was about them that made them different. It’s something I like to think about every now and then. It’s something that sort of helps me to see if I’m on the right track.
I realized that what made them different was also something they all had in common. I noticed that each of them had an unwavering, deep-rooted faith & relationship with God.  They had a deep understanding of what it means to really love people (including themselves) and moved through the world with freedom and strength because they know their identity is in Christ.
I decided what I needed to do. I needed to strengthen my relationship with God and commit to getting to know him better. I knew that if I had God on my side, nothing could take me down. I’d have resilience and love and the ability to really make a difference. I knew that if I want to live my life in chasing big dreams, I needed God on my side…..or rather I needed to follow him
I remember the questions someone asked me once…”If the path isn’t blessed by God, then do you really want to go there?”
I really don’t.
Because I know whatever he has planned for me is more than I could ever dream of planning for myself. 
Background Info Part 2:
I’ve always wanted to get married. In fact, it caused a little bit of anxiety for an embarrassingly long chunk of time in my life… worrying I’d never have a husband or find love or whatever (clearly I needed a hobby).  
One of the talking points for Christians is sex. Or more like not having it before marriage. So a lot of the same women I look up to in business, are also virgins or made a choice to abstain until marriage.

The Point:
Right now, I’m a few thousand feet in the air, on a plane headed to my friend’s wedding in Atlanta, GA.

This morning while I brushed my teeth, my mind wandered around & I thought about the women I’d be reunited with at the wedding. It’s been about a year since I’ve seen any of them. Out of nowhere, something hit me and tears started streaming. I spit out my toothpaste and tried to cover my face in a hand towel to make it stop but it didn’t.

All of the women I’m going to see are Christian. 
And All of the women I’m going to see are waiting.
It’s not until Today that I realized that I didn’t get to choose. 
I didn’t get to choose to save myself for my husband.
I didn’t get to choose to share that connection with someone I truly loved.
If I had not been raped I don’t know if I would have waited, but I do know it’s something that I wanted.  
Before the rape, I was waiting.
But I didn’t get a choice.
And I never realized how dirty I felt until today.
People told me after it happened that I was still a virgin in Christ. THAT made ZERO sense to me but I clung to it. I needed something to make me feel clean.
But I never believed it. 
And it shows. I ended up choosing to have sex with a different person almost immediately after because I couldn’t keep living in the state of uncertainty. The “am I a virgin or am I not” thing was not something I liked or could fix. So I solidified it. I wanted to choose something even though I never really had a choice to begin with. And then I chose again with another person. And again. Because well, why not? 
Today, 4 years, 1 month and 1 week later, I faced myself. I realized that each time I have chosen to have sex with someone it was because I already felt ruined. 
You can’t take that back. No matter how much you want, you can’t make time pass faster or slower, and you can’t take your actions (or anyone else’s) back.
I have never felt anger like the anger I felt this morning.

My relationship with God develops with knowing that I am whole in him.  I know I need to take this to him but I’m having a seriously hard time doing that. 

It’s like my brain is split into two parts. 

The surface part of my brain knows that the sex I’m choosing to have is just hurting me. The part knows the reality and consequence of my actions. This is the part of my brain that has tried to come up with a plan of action to help me make better choices and goes to my friends for advice.

Then there’s the deeper part. The part that isn’t communicating with the planning part of my brain. The part of me that doesn’t care, and doesn’t see anything better. And that part of my brain prays that my future husband won’t wait for me. Because I don’t deserve it.

P.S. I am setting up a counseling appointment on Monday. 

All the Right Things for All The Wrong Reasons

Photo By: +Matthew Martindale

Yesterday I was totally consumed by stress. I literally couldn’t talk to or be around people because I was painfully aware that the terrible energy I had was contagious and that made me feel worse. So may things were suffocating me. Money has been really tight, I felt like my ideas were pretty useless, and overwhelmed by things from work that I didn’t understand. I had skipped class again and felt guilty, my goals seemed really unattainable despite all my effort and my future very uncertain.

I felt like I was “not quite failing”.
Not a total failure yet but definitely on the way.
Doing well, but not good enough.
I was doubting myself.

I prayed a lot. I snapped at my mom over the phone. I isolated myself, then asked for help. I drove to teach and smiled when Madonna came on the Radio. I went to sleep and then woke up.

Today was a new day. I woke up at 8 am to get to a 10am photo shoot an hour away. I scheduled it a week or two ago.
I came out of it with a new necklace and an offer for a few paid gigs with them in November to shoot their new line . Roughly $200. Each.

Then I had a phone meeting with the founder of Free To Run in the aisles of the produce & pasta sections of the grocery store. I recently became an ambassador for them! (Check it out Here: https://freetorunfoundation.org/2016/10/03/our-new-ambassador/ ) We were discussing ideas and next steps to take for my involvement. Ideas were bubbling out of me like a freshly opened bottle of champagne and couldn’t believe that I didn’t have a pen and paper in my basket.
“Yes, we have a small budget to work with if you want to produce some professional content.” Brett told me. OMG I CAN HIRE PEOPLE?!
Then something hit me. Right there next to the tomatoes.

I’m good at this.

I’m becoming what I wanted to be and for the first time I could clearly envision my job in the next 5-20 years.  “Opportunity Producer” was definitely it. Being someone who connects people, builds projects and provides opportunity…. 🙂

Sometimes I feel like a dog following a scent trail. This conversation was what I needed to define myself a little bit better. I found another clue pointing to the next dreams/scent to chase.

I was loading my groceries in my car when Brett and I wrapped up our conversation. “Well,” he said “I’m glad after months of waiting, I finally emailed you. I’m happy to have you on board.” “Honestly, If you had emailed me any sooner, I don’t know if we would be talking right now. You caught me in the perfect moment. I finally have kind of figured out what I’m doing!” I responded.

Later on, I went to the local coffee shop and ran into Scott. Scott is the area director for Young Life and I knew him from when I went through leadership training. We sat there and caught up and we talked about how God fit into everything and how pursuing things is pointless unlesss you have a deeper purpose. That’s what we came down to. Even the richest, most “successful” people can be miserable. The things that give us life and fulfilment are the dreams we chase and the people we love along the way.

This is how I see it. you have to work hard, really hard, but you don’t have to work alone. You work hard while being rooted in faith love and wisdom, and build the foundation that allows other opportunities to come into your life. You build the door together with God, so he can walk through it and visit you later.

I realized today that everything that happened, was on His time. He had a plan the whole time for me and it was my obedience in following my heart that we could get there.

God made your heart, following it is never wrong.

My day ended with an email from someone that works for The Megaphone (Southwestern University’s News Paper) asking to interview me, and a video chat with two of the coolest young ladies on the planet reminding me that they love me.

Recognition. Plans. Trust. Love.
All Powerful and amazing.
My God Loves in abundance.

I hope this post turnd out to be as insightful as I hoped. Today was truly special because I realized I have a purpose, my hard work will pay off without a doubt and I feel like I’m not alone. I will not give up. I will be exactly who I want to be  – exactly who God intended me to be. And it will be great.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. ” Galatians 6:9