Sunday, January 30, 2011

Never would have made it

I'm stronger. I'm wiser. I'm better. Much better.

When I woke up from my nap yesterday, my prayers were answered. He was on his way (with food). And for the first time in a week, I believed the apology that was coming out of his mouth. I've heard that there's always a moment in someone's life where they reach a fork in the road. You get to the fork (a hypothetical fork, Justin, not the fork that you brought over. Sigh.): that moment in life where two options (never very clear, or very simple) present themselves, and the wary take a moment to contemplate the consequences of the two options. The unfaithful and the reckless, however, do a mental coin flip or pick the most dangerous and thrilling path to follow. But those who are married to Christ sit down at the fork, maybe lean against a tree and enjoy the sounds of silence around them, all the while waiting for His answer.

Well, I've reached a fork. 
And I sat around in silence.
And I hear Him calling to me.

Today marks two months of continued strength and perseverance on the rocky road that led to this fork. My feet were tired, I was thirsty, and I was on the verge of giving up. But now that I've had a chance to sit and rest, the LORD has renewed and restored me. I have new hope for this semester, and for my relationship with Justin. He has done some serious soul-searching that I believe demonstrates his serious commitment and dedication to this relationship. I love this man.

Now if only he would take me out for frozen yogurt. It's like the only "yum" I can eat. Not that I'm complaining, but it's been hard to give up everything. I'm glad I've needed to substitute dairy into my diet to manage my offers me a little cheating leeway. Not that I'd ever cheat God. One day I'll do a solid fast instead of this partial Daniel fast.  All in good time. I love you.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lawrence Flowers and Intercession-More

I love this song. Check out this awesome group singing it:

Don't Count Me Out

♫♪♫ ♪♫ ♪♫ ♪ ♫

Marvin Sapp's voice is serenading my heart. This beautiful chocolate man has certainly used his gifts to serve God. I melt when he opens his mouth. Sing to me Marvin. Sigh.

I'm a mess of emotions. I need a real magic 8-ball. Or God to speak a little louder. You'd think with all that omniscient-ness, he could glamour up a megaphone or something. I guess that only happens in Harry Potter. It's Day 14. And it only keeps getting more difficult as the days go on. Everything gets that much more stressful. Justin is still stuck in his own world of chutzpah (love this Jew-word!) and preservation; trying to hold onto "us" without letting go of his rigidity. I fear his inability to adapt to anyone else's [my] life will be the end of us.

Paul is still coming to Tallahassee, and still [kindly] asking me to help him get some stuff together (get his bike back to him that's still at my house, etc.) I'm falling behind in my course work because I'm so stressed out. I get stuck thinking about how things with Paul used to be, and how Justin can't seem to go more than a day without being angry with me....and it makes me question where I'm going. I don't fight, I don't want to fight, and I won't live my life resenting the person I should be in love with. Not that I'm considering going back to Paul, but how much longer am I supposed to wait for change before I give up?

Paul was never as affectionate to me, never called me beautiful, never cared about my interests, or loved God the way I did....but those handful of fights we had over the three years we were together resulted in compromise and understanding. Never yelling, never filled with animosity, and never truly on the brink of breaking up. With Justin, I feel like I'm walking on broken glass. A room full of it. I'm going to get cut regardless, so I might as well grit my teeth and get ready for the pain, and the tears. He promises that he's working on his anger, but I'm holding my breath and waiting for change; praying to God to show me the way. Where am I supposed to be going? What am I supposed to be doing? What choices am I supposed to be making? Logic tells me to give this up, and yet I'm still here. God, please speak to my heart. 

I have tests, papers, meetings, and a calendar full of things I need to focus on, but I can't seem to hone in on anything these days. My mind is all over the place. I purposely didn't plan anything this weekend so that I could study, but I'm sitting here blogging. I suppose that's just me. I procrastinate, I'm chaotic, and I'll do everything in good time. Maybe a nap would help.

Haha. Be blessed, you guys.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer.....Rev 2:10

It comes in waves of anticipation. 

I'm lost in a sea of weariness and I don't see a light house. Where are you God? rushes goes through my mind. The water rushes over me. The salt water fills my mouth and nose; constantly threatening to pull me under. I know He's out there. My body is numb, my heart is cold, and my eyes are having trouble staying open. I'm shutting down.

I can't keep my head above the waves. I'm starting to breathe in more water than air. 

I am falling quickly; deviating from the path and desiring change that may be unattainable. 
He is who he is. And I have no right to ask any different.
I wouldn't apologize for who I am either.
Where do we go from here?
I'm losing faith in it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A carrot a day keeps the rabbits away....

Woo! Day 9! I've dragged myself to class today after a stormy weekend; I meant that figuratively, but this morning's rain puts a damper on my joke. (Ha!) I wonder if it bothers people to hear me chomping away on my organic baby carrots (ooooo.....fancy!). It always bothers me when I can hear people chewing. Hmm. Justin came home last night. My heart was racing. I was hurrying to fix my lip gloss in the mirror as I was pulling into his apartment complex. I just wanted everything to be perfect. My thoughts fast-forwarded to images of him coming home from a long deployment; I would still be making sure my lip gloss was perfect.

I've finally been able to put my fears about Paul to rest, and drink in the sweet satisfaction that relaxation brings. Granted, I'm still way behind on my work, but I feel much less anxious. Not to mention, two whole nights of Jenna-free dreams.

The fast is still going strong. I've had plenty of urges to break the fast, but I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and remember why I'm doing this. I could just as easily be satisfying my hunger, but I took on this fast as a sacrifice to my God; a sign of my love and dedication to Him. I shall not falter! I've made it past the first week. The next thing you know, it will be Day 22 and I'll be listing the enormous list of food that made it into my mouth that day....and a list of the best plastic surgeons so I can get some lipo for my newly acquired GUT. (LOL.)

But for now, I'll just sit here eating my carrots.

Can I reiterate that I'm really, REALLY behind on everything? I'm taking a personal weekend (aside from the fact that most of my Saturday is dedicated to soccer officiating and most of my Sunday is spent with God) to catch up on my course work. I have a test next Tuesday, research to do, papers to read, assignments to turn in, data to collect for neuro.....and I've been neglecting it all to spend nth amount of time at church, with Justin, and at work. Let's get it together, Samantha. You need to get back to a good balance. Justin won't be happy to hear that I'll be abandoning him this weekend, but I'm falling behind near the brink of graduation. Speaking of which, my GRE needs to be taken, and my grad school application essays need to be finished. Sigh.

On a side note: Angela Boone advises that if you want to spice up your life, switch deodorants. This makes total sense. I have like four different kinds. Whichever is closest to where ever I am at the time, I use! Hmm. Maybe too much information. Oh well.

I would like to take a minute to reflect on the lives lost in the last 48 hours. If any readers haven't heard, 11 police officers have been shot both in Miami and in St. Pete. Please include their family and friends, and this nation in your prayers. We are reaching dark days in which Satan's numbers are increasing; God be with us all.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

"For you have been born again...."

"If I could be any part of you, I’d be your tears. To be conceived in your heart, born in your eyes, live on your cheeks, and die on your lips."

He needed to be tickled to force this smile, but alas!

My adorable JB at Mission San Luis.

I'm almost glad the weekend is coming to a close. I don't know how much more weekend I can handle, to be perfectly honest. David and I drove to Marianna today to see the Florida caverns; it was incredible! The pictures we were able to get were awesome, but simply didn't compare to what was actually in front of us. Afterward, he gave me a crash course on how to drive a stick shift and tossed me out onto the street. It went...relatively smoothly until we made it back to Tallahassee. Let's just say I stalled out so many times that we had to switch drivers! :-X (haha!) The hills here were just too much for my beginner knowledge! 

After much consideration and meditation with Him, I've come to grips with the reality I'm facing with Paul. Having lost sight of my path for an instant, I was afraid that his return to Tallahassee was inevitable, and the end of my relationship with JB would come simply as a repercussion of the situation. But Paul is looking for an easy out, and I won't be as weak as I have been in the past. This "goodbye" was the "goodbye" and there is no chance I'm looking back. It is always nice to hear that someone is empty without you, though. Never get tired of hearing that. I can forgive, but I will never forget. 

Justin Brown, I adore you. And no matter what Paul decides to do, it will never sway my feelings for you. Only one man has that kind of power over me! And I firmly believe that He ousted Paul from my life in the first place.....and all over again when I hadn't learned my lesson. It's been a tough adjustment to a new relationship: including two people who are more ready for the future than they have even had time to figure out the other person in it. 

But the love is here. 
And God is present between us. 

We have years to figure out the flaws that make each other unique. I look forward to marrying a man who is not searching for perfection, but sees me with all my faults and still thinks of me as perfect. Where ever He takes me, whoever He hands me off to: I am His servant. And I am so glad. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Difficult to Remember, Hard to Forget

"I think I've made the biggest mistake of my life," he says. "Will you let me come home?" 

Whose heart does it break more to tell him no?
Why do men always want to fix things once they are irreversibly broken? 
I'm lost for words.
I'm struggling to keep my emotions in check. 
I'm attempting not to scream and cry and give him a proverbial punch in the face.

How could you do this to me?
How dare you do this to me.

I need Justin to come home.

Professions, Confessions, and Some Much Needed Grub

Welcome to Day 6. And what an adventure it has been. It's amazing how quickly my life can lose structure and become a whirlwind of chaos when I have a week like I've been having. But honestly, I embrace it. So rarely do I get the opportunity to be spontaneous anymore; random (and generally irrationally justified) trips to New Orleans and Boston and elsewhere that I've learned to simply sit back and enjoy the chaos until it passes. Like a rip current, there's really no point in fighting it. It's going to happen, and it's going to drag me out to sea. The only things I can do are close my eyes, pray, and enjoy the beauty of my surroundings as it passes me by.

Daniel Bell
He called me at 2:30am to tell me he was on his way to see me. Silly boy. He is one of my only links to my old life, but he still (most of the time) manages to be a good balance for me. It's incredible how far the two of us have come: from dictating original oratory speeches in the Debate class storage closet to each other, to a profound love lost, and finally circling right back around to an incredible friendship that has lasted us through the years. When he's around, I feel like no time has passed; like the few times a year we get to see each other is just in my head....and I can find him right around the corner when he pulls out of my driveway. The hurt sometimes still lingers, but less often since I stopped consuming alcohol (who woulda thought?!). He will forever be the one that got away, but I'm so very lucky to have him back in my life. (He's a better friend than a partner anyhow.) There is no doubt that he will change this world.

This part of my week has been difficult, but I like to think that it's going to be worth it. Everyday I feel like there is something new to argue about; have we moved out of the honeymoon stage so soon? It hasn't even been 3 months yet. My first fight with Paul wasn't for about a year and a half...but I guess we can all see how that worked out in the end. They say two type A personalities won't survive a relationship for long, but here I am testing that theory. Admittedly, I am not a simple girl. I'm easy to please, but difficult to satisfy. I never deny my share of flaws, and I know that I have somethings I need to work on. But Daniel pointed out something I hadn't considered: I've found myself in back-to-back relationships at two emotional extremes. With Paul, he didn't care at all. He wouldn't ask me how my day was, or know (or care) when I was upset. He was emotionally dull; especially toward the end. With Justin, the emotions are on full blast all the time. Anger, guilt, regret, sadness, and passion (that one can stay). It's draining, but I'm trying to work with him. I hear a lot of "sorry"s when I'd rather see progress. But love takes time....right?

At first, I was concerned about expressing my feelings on here, but I contemplated the odds of JB actually sitting down to read this. -Shakes head- I've told him about it, but I know he won't read it...and he'll tell me he doesn't have the time. What does that mean for us?

My fast is still successful! The substitution of dairy (on account of my medication) has been a blessing on my stomach. I've been experiencing some vegetables that I once pushed onto Paul's plate because I hated the way they taste. Now I'm eating them like I'm having my last supper; and it's wonderful. The Jenna dreams won't cease, but I'll leave that for another post. Speaking of food....I need some breakfast.


Last night, I was baptized at Meridian Woods Church of Christ as a new sister. It's QUITE a change from being non-denominational, but I know this is the way! All of my friends were there, including my Angela Boone!! When I hugged her, I erupted in sobs. It felt so good to have someone from my past witness my transformation. I needed a good cry, and to have it be about Christ and the wonderful people He's blessed me with in this life....was absolutely breathtaking. I feel like I have a huge family who loves me so much...and I am so grateful!

David came last night. It always puts a smile on my face to see him at my door. JB will be gone for the weekend, but David will be here to keep me occupied (despite the fact that I REALLY could use some time to catch up on stuff right now). More to come. <3 Peace and love.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hunger Pangs and Joy Rides

Is it bad that I'm actually contemplating staying up until midnight just so I can eat something? It's like waiting up to register for classes. *sigh* I fear that it would just defeat the purpose of my fast. Praise time with AFC was nice tonight. Not everyone was there, but for some reason being in a different room than usual with some different faces than I see every week on this new and exciting fasting-period made me feel closer to the group.

You know, I started my "quiet time" in my room with some candles, with some incense, and some praise music. I was in my room, on my knees. But as I sat there, it felt so forced; so cliche. After that, however, I've started praying while I drive. I get in the car, get on the road, and talk to myself in the silence of my car. And honestly, I've never felt more in touch with Him! I feel like I'm sitting there, talking to God on my cell phone. I think to myself, "Why don't I do this more often?". I can definitely see me taking some of the things I've been doing during this fast and putting them into practice from day to day.

For one, I've come to the conclusion that some how, some way, I need to apologize to Jenna for holding so much against her. To just give her a big "I'M SORRY" for not understanding her, and her not being there for her just because I didn't agree with who she was or what she was doing. But that will come later.

Two, I've been shown that Meridian Woods is more than just a church that I visit with my boyfriend, but rather, it is a haven for the security and fellowship that has been lacking in my life. When I first came to MW, it was a little strange approaching Church of Christ from a non-denominational background, but the more time I've spent with them, the more I've come to love each and every person I've met. I asked myself, "If Justin and I were to end, would I still continue at MW?" And the answer was simple. Of course I would. God has led me to Justin for a reason. Whether that was to become a member of the Church of Christ, or to be united by marriage, or both (!), I know that this is the next step on my path.

Chapter 2? Re-baptized as a member of the Church of Christ. Take one.

But joy cometh in the morning.....

She's been in my dreams two nights in a row. The first night, there was a general hatred and mistrust. But last night, as I laid in bed tossing and turning, there was an actual fist fight. During my entire friendship with her, that was something I really avoided at all costs. She did a lot for me. She was there through all the hard times and the sometimes conscious through the good. But she's obviously on my mind. Why? I was warned that the fast would show me things I needed to see and allow me to come closer to Him. My dreams have been filled with hatred for her; could this be a sign of something I need to face?

Today was my first day at the police department as an administrative assistant. I love it! Definitely not as exciting as being a victim advocate intern, but it's a change of pace that I needed. And it pays! I'm glad this day is coming to a conclusion. While I should be sitting in class, I'm sitting in a student lounge on campus, trying to focus on anything else except for my hunger. Tomorrow starts my first day of fruits and vegetables. I'll be glad when I can put something of substance in my mouth. But I can already tell that my spiritual-self is going through a healing process. And after all the pain I've experienced in the past few months, I definitely welcome it.

On a positive note, Justin seems to be adjusting fairly well to my insane past and chaotically structured lifestyle. I was worried that he would be too self-absorbed and egotistical to be able to concern himself with my needs (I'm used to someone knowing me so well), but having gone through a few little arguments, the storm has finally settled....for now. Initially, I thought I shouldn't put that pressure on him, but I've come to a point in my life where I'm finally going to be 100% real with my partner. With Paul, I was a mother and a friend and a lover all wrapped up in one. I need to be me; and need to be with someone who wants to be himself. I have needs! I have physical and emotional desires! And for once, I won't pretend that they don't exist. If Justin can accept me like this, then it will last. If not, then that will be that. I'm done settling. With God, I will never be alone. Justin is just another blessing He has bestowed so that my physical being has someone to appreciate. I'm still nervous about him leaving to Rhode Island. And then again, soon after, to God knows where. I'm not worried about staying faithful while he's away, but I pray that I will be strong enough to keep the passion alive between us while he's hundreds of miles away and communication is limited. He jokingly mentioned that he wanted to ask me to marry him before taxes were due so that he could claim me as a dependent. I laughed, but I wonder what He has in store for me. I wonder how Justin plays out in my future. I can never be sure.

All I know is that I'm along for the ride. And I'm sure as heck going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Monday, January 17, 2011


It's day 2 and I'm hungry. It's hard to see your friends eat around you, but I try to remember why I'm fasting and my hunger pains disappear. Last night I was up and out of bed all night hacking up a lung, so today feels especially challenging. I'm tired, I'm sick, and I'm compelled to just sleep the day away instead of doing anything productive. But I have obligations: homework, Justin....oh and did I mention the HUGE list of homework that is even intimidating to look at? And tomorrow is my first day of work at the police department. There is no time in my life to be sick.

So, in light of the thought that some of my friends from my "old" life may be reading this, I figured I may as well enlighten everyone on how my transformation came to pass. I've gotten a lot of "WOW!"s and "How did this happen??"s that I suppose I should address.

Those who knew me in high school knew I was never openly religious. I had faith (here and there), but for the most part, I was a closet Christian. I expressed my belief through my music, but my personal life was a mess. I was the epitome of a "mean girl", and only those I deemed worthy enough reaped the benefits of my friendship. I dappled in other religious theologies, I played the Devil's advocate in religious debates against God, and I frequently broke commandments that I once swore I never would.

When I came across Trinity International Church and was saved, I was still unable to completely make the commitment despite my desire (and the NEED) to change my ways. For once, however, I was able to find a good relationship with a decent guy, get my priorities straight, and prepare for my future instead of depending on my wit and good looks (haha) to get me out of my messes. I'm not going to say it was ALL Paul that led me back to God, but it was nice to have someone go to church with me again. Being in a stable relationship allowed me to reassess my life and focus on what really mattered. But was I ready for God? Not quite.

When Paul and I broke up the first time, it was like the past year and a half hadn't happened at all. Jenna was right there to pick up the pieces; and she had all the solutions to numb my pain. Not only would my heartache be irrelevant, but I wouldn't even remember him. For two months, I got lost in some....bad news....(some of hers, some of my own). How could God do this to me? I was faithful to Him as a new Christian. I was loyal to Paul. I was trying my hardest! I was a good person now that I had been removed from the bad influences in South Florida. So the numbing continued. Everyday, it seemed like the number of NEW bad influences that I started hanging out with increased. I wasn't praising, I wasn't praying. I was a lost sheep. Undeserving.

When Paul and I got back together, I felt like it was meant to be. But apparently, I was the only one. Others were hesitant and advised that I should let it lie. But like I had always done, I did what I wanted and went ahead with it. I loved him. And until the very end, I loved him. Maybe I just wanted to feel loved. Maybe I just didn't want to feel alone. I really never knew how wrong I was about that.

He was always there; waiting for me to open my heart.

When I sit down to think about why God put Paul in my life, I know that it was because Paul was my gateway to Him. The further Paul and I got from each other emotionally, the more I intimately sought out what path He had laid for me. And near the end, I saw the end. It was very clear that it was coming, and I was ready for it. It didn't hurt because He was there. It was clear that I had bigger things to live for.

So here I am: living for God and trying to be a better Christian each and every day. I am, by no means, perfect. And there are days when I find myself thinking and acting like I did all those years ago. But He keeps me in check; giving and taking and boosting my faith daily. I have a long way to go, but I'm grateful for the friends-new and old-that have given me the courage and support along my spiritual journey.

The good news: only one more day of liquids! Woo!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Daniel Fast

After much consideration, I've concluded that this past semester has held a lot of trials, and subsequent triumph, that deserve much praise. This blog will be used to document the personal and spiritual journey of a (now) 20 year old female college student. I encourage you to feel free to jump on in for the ride. I don't mean for this to be an exclamation of miracles, or of my awesomeness (though sometimes my ego gets the best of me). I simply desire this journal of sorts to be a testimony of my unyielding faith, and the love my God has for me. Come and go as you please; I will still be here.

It's Day 1 of my Daniel fast. What's a Daniel fast, you ask?

"In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks.  I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled." Daniel 10:2-3

Essentially, you consume nothing but liquids for the first three days. For the rest of the 21-day fast, you eat nothing but fruits and vegetables. And all the while, you are devoting time to praise, worship, and talk with God. Otherwise, your fast would be nothing more than a diet :-P This isn't required of Christians, and there isn't anything that says that if you break your fast you are sinning. I'm making a CHOICE to fast and pray with the intention that the combination will bring me closer to Him every day. It's going to be a heck of a fasting period (being as this is my first fasting experience!), but I am very excited about the up and coming conversations that I will get to have, and that which will be revealed to me.

My spiritual goals this year: get more comfortable praying out loud in public, practice what I preach (and not just the stuff that is convenient for me), and read the Word more regularly.

Today after church, I stopped by Borders to pick up Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliot. It was recommended to me as a book that would help me deal with Justin leaving for officer school in May. She also recommended that we get 365 day devotional books for couples (one for each of us) so that while we're not able to write or communicate when he's in Rhode Island, we'll be able to stay connected spiritually. It seemed like a wonderful idea, and I was happy that Justin agreed.

It breaks my heart that he has to go...but this is the life that he chose. Which means that this is the life that I chose as well. I can only pray that he gets stationed somewhere in the States after OCS graduation in August, at least until I'm finished with graduate school. I sense that this semester will be very difficult indeed.