Opening Your Heart

So I’m just going to put this out there. I’m in my twenties, I have college debt, I have very limited assets, I’m about to get married, and paying my bills (as small as they are right now) every month is a struggle. The job I currently have (caring for Miss J) is both dissatisfying and not making it possible to thrive financially. So I am job searching. And I am bitter. And I am weary.

It is hard to write all that down. The stress of financial instability is compounded by the fact that in 8 rapidly approaching weeks I am getting married. And much is up in the air. It’s odd how something can feel so wonderfully right and yet at the same time just have so much yuck surrounding it. And things are not all doom and gloom. We’ve been given wonderfully overwhelming and generous gifts. Our relationship is stronger than ever. Family to a degree is supporting us, at least in the ways they are capable of. Most of the details of the wedding (and there are a lot) are getting hammered out. And there have just been so many unexpected moments of joy and fun along this road.

It’s hard though. I’m doing my best not to, but I have been slipping into my savings just to pay bills. I can’t really afford to do anything expect free stuff I can access by the T. Or you know just stay home. And the desire to continue job searching wanes and wanes as rejection after rejection comes in. There is light though.

Yesterday I spent time with S, after a decent afternoon with my family, we went to my place. We ended up having a lovely dinner with two of my housemates and their friends. It felt like community. After dinner everybody wanted to go to J. P. Licks. S was getting tired and getting ready to go home. I wanted to go to J. P. Licks, but I said the truth, I can’t afford it right now. I had paid for my portion of the utilities and groceries already, money was low I couldn’t justify even that small amount on ice cream.

Well, my housemates called me aside to “help them with something”. There in an extravagant display of love they offered to pay for me, saying they wanted me to come with them and not have money be a reason to not go. I was overwhelmed. And I went out and I ended up having an absolutely wonderful time.

Here’s the thing, when I came to this little home a few months ago, I had this intense feeling of peace when we all prayed together at our first meeting. I knew right then that God intended me to be there. These women have blessed me so much and showed me such love, I have no doubts even with these financial struggles this is where God wants me to be for this time. What has been really good and also strangely hard is letting these ladies love me. I may be struggling right now (and I wish it was only financially), and these ladies have helped me in so many ways. They’ve been understanding and generous with money. They have had many life giving conversations with me. They’ve celebrated my birthday. Laughed with me. Shared many meals with me. Appreciated me in big and small ways, and showed how rich and life giving it is to share a home with strangers. There have been bumps foraging into new territories, new food, and learning boundaries and how to communicate with people who are not your family.

It’s been such a rich experience, it feels like I’ve always belonged here. My first post about moving in was expressing the awkwardness of living with strangers and wondering if it would feel like home. And oh, dear readers it does. God has been so gracious. I am learning that while I may not have everything right now, I do still have a roof over my head, a job, the bills are being paid even though it’s a struggle to do so and I am learning, how to ask for help, how to share my struggles, how to listen, how to care for people, and sometimes what’s even harder to open my heart and be cared for. Open your heart to the people around you no matter your circumstances, no matter your age, you won’t regret it.

Glitter on,

Juanita

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I’ll still be friends with you

“Friends, I will remember you, think of you, and pray for you.

And when another day is through I’ll still be friends with you.”

This is a song that we would sing every week at our closing campfire as girls tossed wish sticks into the fire. Over and over again until every girl had tossed in her wish. Those words haunt me still, they nestle in my heart, and they comfort me. Today once again I had to say goodbye (or “see you later”) to a friend who I don’t know when I will see them again.

We had a conversation about “family of choice” and I’m really thinking about it. This time of life has so many unique joys and challenges and friendships or your “family of choice” are part of that. For many of us we’ve gone to college and made friends we will have forever. Many of us have friends we can trace back to our origins in high school, middle school, even elementary school. Friends have been there when our  family of origin, couldn’t or wouldn’t. Friends have loved us simply because we are who we are. And many of us are saying “see you later” to friends we are not sure when we will see them again.

First I have to say, it’s rough isn’t it? It’s rough when people tell you It’s going to be a long time until I see you again because I know that God has a plan for me. It’s rough when a friend says, well after this job I could be anywhere, I’ll keep you posted. It’s rough, when you have plans to stay grounded in one area and it feels like everyone wants to go.

For me I’ve found it helpful to lean on friends who are staying, to deepen friendships that maybe you haven’t paid as much attention too. I’m also doing my best to try new things and open myself up to new opportunities. To enjoy my own company. And I’m also making efforts to keep in touch through Facebook, email, phone calls, and of course the old fashioned letter (who doesn’t enjoy a good letter?). And I pray. A lot. Jesus really understands what it’s like to have your friends leave you (and betray you for that matter!) and what it means to be lonely. We always have a friend in Him.

So I don’t have too much to offer, I’m still sorting it out, sometimes it makes me want to give up on close friends, because it feels like they always leave eventually. But I know that is poor and fearful thinking, I don’t let it win. I think that’s in part why I am the marrying type, it’s awesome to have a deep connection with someone and know they will be there always (until death do you part). Yet, I am also so proud and excited for those friends. I’m glad they are going after these jobs, these mission opportunities, creating new homes in places beyond. It’s thrilling. I’m so glad to be a part of their story. I’m so glad I can call them friend. I’m so glad their leaving makes me cry because it means I love them. And love is always worth it, even when it hurts.

Glitter on,

Juanita

How have you dealt with geographic distance in friendships? What are creative ways you stay in touch? Are you the friend who is going or the one who stayed?

Finding a Good One

TRIGGER WARNING! I will be talking about dating relationships, if in this place in your life those words make you bitter, pissed off, sad, or confused, its probs best not to read this, at least not today. There’s a lot … Continue reading

Change is Constant

Here’s another thing you learn in life whether you’re a twenty something post graduate or going through another stage–life constantly changes. Constantly.

One day you’re on top of the world, next day you’re staring all over, again. It’s been an interesting couple of days for me. I’ve had some thought provoking conversations about LGBTQ people and how the church is/should be relating to them. We received some incredible wedding gifts including our honeymoon being paid for, which is just crazy amazing, because we are actually going on a honeymoon, which is a thing I wasn’t sure of.

I’ve felt really healthy with my social life. I’ve had to say goodbye to two very dear friends who I don’t know when I will see them again. I actually am getting really excited for the wedding. The wedding, not just getting married, though that is still the pinnacle of my joy.

S and I had a really good pre-marital counseling session and really had some valuable conversation about our relationship as it is and how our marriage will look. Looks like we really are on the same team.

But I’ve also heard about some tough things people I love are struggling with. Like really tough, like I’m not sure how it would be if I were in their shoes. I pray though, and I listen, and I love. And it’s all I can do, and somehow it seems to be enough. Oh and I’m hardcore job searching again (though still working), so to put it lightly, it’s kind of a drag.

And I know that things will continue to change. I’m changing so much. Better overall, but some days aren’t perfect. Some days I’m just glad I’m alive and having some form of energy.Other days I’m so vibrantly alive it’s intoxicating.

So I guess the point is that life changes, in all it’s vibrant glittery beauty, and either you roll with it, enjoy it, thrive in it, learn from it, or you do the opposite. I’m going to make the most of it, because life is changing by the day for good and bad, and I’m changing right along with it (hopefully for the better).

What are the changes going on in your life?

How do you deal with change, the good and the bad?

Glitter on!!

Juanita