Saturday, 19 October 2013

Life is Short

Just a few weeks ago, a horrible tragedy shook my community. A second grader was killed by a bus while he was walking to school with his dad and older brother. When I think about what that must have been like, it almost makes me cry. To be walking to school together and then in the next instant, he’s gone. The brother of the boy actually plays football with my brother, so in a way, it kind of hit me in a different way too. I saw how tragedy can hit closer to home.

I guess this accident puts things in perspective for me. It re-emphasizes the frailty of life.  It also reminds me that there are people who are going through things that are harder. Those times when I just want to retreat and feel sorry for myself (which happen way too frequently), I want to remember this family.  I want to remember that even when things really suck for me, there’s someone else out there who has it way worse.
I want to live beyond my world.

Because at the end of the day, that’s where I’m going to find my happiness. I think sometimes when I’m stuck in a bad rut, it’s because I’m focused on me. Why my life sucks. How bad everyone is treating me. The list goes on. Truth be told, I think about myself way too often. As a result, I freak out over the little things. This last week has not been one of my better weeks for treating other people nice. I might have yelled a few times. I might have slammed a few doors.
Then I come back to that little boy. Life is short. I don’t want to waste it worrying about what that boy thinks, or getting angry about things that really don’t matter. I want to make a difference in my life.

Love,
Jyllenna

 

Friday, 27 September 2013

The Motions

Ever get those times when you really just don't feel like doing anything? You do what you have to do to get by. Somewhere in the back of your head, you know that you should be doing something more. But, day after day, you find yourself settling back into the same thing, not doing much of anything. My bedroom is testament to the fact that I haven't really felt like doing much of anything lately. I'd post a picture...but it's just that messy right now.

I'm a very hard working person. I set goals and I hate when I don't reach them. Sometimes I hit burnout and I need to recuperate. Sometimes that recuperation lasts too long and it becomes apathy.

And apathy is pathetic. And addicting.

I think a lot of the times I hit burnout, it's because I've been doing a lot of stuff. Things that are important (like schoolwork), but that don't quite ignite the passion in me. Things that don't require a special drive. Does that make any sense? I think half my brain is still in the confusing world of physics...and the other half is actually trying to make intelligent sounding words...

I've heard people talk about going through the motions. Usually I think of people faking. But I guess 'the motions' could also refer to you filling up your schedule with things to do, but neglecting to do something that ignites a spark in you. Things that are really only motions with no heart behind them.

In my drama class, we all shared stories about ourselves. Some were funny, but some were crazy sad. I would never have guessed some of the hell that some people went through. I think isolation breeds apathy. We think that we're the only ones who really feel the way we do, and then we just don't do anything to really change our world. Hearing all those stories gave me new inspiration to do something, even something small. I want to do something fueled by a passion, and hopefully re-ignite a spark in someone else, as my drama class did for me.

Here's to hoping this post made a little bit of sense! I'll be back with some more a little bit later. Hopefully, no more like 3 week gaps in between posts.

Love,
Jyllenna
 
 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Voices

Over the long weekend I was at a camp. This was definitely something I needed--I was way outside my comfort zone. I learned a lot while I was there, from both the speakers as well as the people I was with.  I'm still sorting through some things, and this post is honestly me just putting some stuff in perspective. I'm mostly talking to myself here...

One of the things the speaker said really resonated with me, and I think it's going to be my focus for this school year. He said:

"The voice that you magnify will be the voice that leads you."

Here's the thing. I magnify the wrong voice. Mine. My voice is not very smart. It tells me that I'm not good enough. That I'm a failure. That I'm not pretty enough. That I have no talents. That no one wants to be around me. Anyone relate?

There are other voices that want to bring us down too. The voice of the "popular" crowd. The voice of your ex. Even the voices of  family members. The voices of coaches, friends, and a host of other people can be extremely challenging to deal with. The voices we choose to respond to are going to be the ones that navigate our lives, whether or not we know it.

Every time I listen to my voice (which has been way too frequently lately), I miss out on something. When I give my voice the megaphone, nothing good happens. The last few weeks of my life have kind of been evidence of that.

So what voice do I need to magnify?

Love's voice.

Love says you're good enough.

Love says you're worth pursuing.

Love says you have a purpose.

Love says even when you fall, you can pick yourself up again. And again. And again.

Love says there's nothing wrong with you.

Love acknowledges that you're not perfect, but also says you're not hopeless.

Love says to leave all failures out of your vocabulary.

I really don't understand why I have such a hard time magnifying this voice. Maybe I just need to silence mine so I can hear Love's.

Love,
Jyllenna

"God is love." 1 John 4:8b

"Never let a man tell you you're not worth pursuing. For God became a man, died, and rose again just to purse you. You are worth purusing. You are beautiful. You are loved."





Thursday, 29 August 2013

Overcomers

Sorry, I know it's been a little while since I posted anything. I've been sorting through some things and navigating some scary waters. I'm hoping to be back sometime next week. I have lots of stuff to say!

Until next week, my fellow overcomers...ya'll are in my prayers!


If any of you need specific prayer, please let me know. I'm happy to join with you.

Love,
Jyllenna

Friday, 16 August 2013

My Awesome Brother

This guy is my little brother. Little in age, at least. He's twelve, and already five inches taller than me. And I don't think he's hit his growth spurt yet.

Sometimes (okay, maybe a lot of times) my brother annoys me. If anyone has a sibling that doesn't annoy them, I'd love to hear about it. He and I are complete opposites in almost every way. He's very happy go lucky and just wants to have fun, while I'm a very focused person. I like to have fun, but not quite in the same way he does. Then there's the fact that he's twelve and I'm sixteen. Enough said.

I'm not always the nicest person to my brother. I tend to be really hard on him. I often find myself forgetting what it was like to be twelve. Not that I really want to remember what it was like. Memories of thinking the Jonas Brothers were so cute, my frizzy hair, and general twelve-year-old awkwardness make me shudder a little bit. The tween years are awkward years for everyone. At least I tell myself that. I know my brother has had his fair share of challenges with moving from the place where he grew up and leaving all his friends. It's just so easy for me to get wrapped up in all my "big" teenager problems.

Last night, though, my brother did something so awesome for me though. I was having a bit of a rough time. I'd withdrawn to my room to just be alone (retreating behind my wall). As far as I knew, he didn't even think anything was going on. I'd been in my room for maybe five minutes when he knocked on my door. I grumpily said he could come in.

Guys, he came in and said, "I love you so much and I think you're the best sister ever."

I didn't really know what to say. After all the times I've treated him so horribly. All the times I've forgotten what he needed. All the times I've shoved him aside for my own wants  He comes to me while I'm really down and breaks down my wall just to tell me he loves me.

As I'm writing this, I'm full on crying now.

I'm not really sure where I was going with this post. I guess I just want to say to never think you're alone. I'm willing to bet that in your darkest moment, there's someone who's going to be there for you. Even when you feel you don't really have many friends. Even when you feel there's something wrong with you. There's someone in your life who will see everything that's right with you, and remind you of the important things in life.

I'm going to go spend some time with my brother now.

 

 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Walls


I build walls. A lot. I have a hard time letting people in, especially when I'm hurting. A few weeks ago, I dislocated my shoulder. It hurt so bad; I can't really think of words to describe it. I've never been one to cry when I get injured, but I was screaming in pain. My parents tried to help me, but I didn't let them. I didn't want anyone to touch me. I curled up into a ball of pain, shutting out anyone who just wanted to ease the hurt.

When we are in that much pain, we are responding instinctively. Our brain is responding based on the behaviors we've drilled into it. The brain is an amazing part of our body. Neuroscientists have discovered that the brain can actually repair itself from things like depression, dementia, and head traumas when it's fed with the positive thoughts and behaviors.

 Walls limit that healing and growth. People want to care. Not everyone is out to hurt us. Yes, people are going to disappoint us. Likely the people that are closest to us are going to inflict the biggest wounds. But when that hurt comes, we'll have others to rely on because we've allowed ourselves to form more relationships. Inside those walls, you're alone with the hurt, and that's just going to magnify the pain.

 Sometimes fear of ourselves keeps us trapped in those walls. What if I venture out of my walls and my many flaws mess things up? I really, really struggle with this. I hate screwing up, and I have a hard time moving past my failures, sometimes to the point that I'll quit something and never try it again because I messed up.

But what if I stay trapped in those walls forever?

What kind of things will I miss out on because I won't let other people help me? How much of my purpose can I honestly accomplish from behind a wall? Will I really live up to my potential? Could staying behind a wall result in possibly my biggest failure?

Tearing down walls is hard. Honestly, I'm writing this because this is something I need to do. Walls are built over time, one choice at a time. I think that walls can also be destroyed, one choice at a time. I just have to start making those choices.

Once the people who care about you start to see those walls coming down, I'll bet that they'll start to help you in the demolition. That's what happens when those walls start to come down.

I also know there's Someone who is a master at destroying walls and building love.

I'm taking the challenge. I'm going to make one decision that might knock a little crack in my walls. What about you?

Love,
Jyllenna

 It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.                                                                                                              Hebrews 11:30

 

Friday, 9 August 2013

What If...

What if for one day I didn't criticize anything?

What if I just let things happen?

What if for one day, I didn't try to have better?

What if for one day, I didn't work myself into a frenzy trying to DO better or BE better?

What if for one day, I was just content with who I am?

What if just for one day, I just enjoyed life without worrying about all the things that aren't perfect?

I wonder what would happen.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The F-word

It's probably not the F-word you're thinking of, but it might be just as dirty of a word to you. My friend, Alisha, wrote an AMAZING blog post on this word. She originally posted it on Nancy Rue's blog (Nancy Rue is one of my absolute favorite authors. Her blog is awesome!) Alisha also has an incredible story of her own, which I'll talk about in a later post. Anyway, Alisha was gracious enough to let me post her blog post here. I loved it, and I know you guys will too!

From Alisha...

They say forgive and forget, like it’s easy, like it’s possible. I put off writing this entry for a while because, quite frankly, I didn’t know what to say. I know forgiveness. I’ve done forgiveness. We all know the passage in the Bible when Jesus tells the man to forgive 7 X 70. And yet forgiveness is such a hard thing to wrap your head around.

 I spent this week looking into forgiveness. I looked at quotes from other well-known men and women who had a thing or two to say about forgiveness. Gandhi says forgiveness is an attribute of the strong. Martin Luther King Jr. says forgiveness is not an act, but a constant attitude. And I like that. I believe, from all the things I’ve learned about forgiveness, that this is true.
They say forgive and forget but I would like to raise a different argument. Forgive and don’t forget. It sounds crazy, I know, but bear with me. There have been multiple occasions in my life when I am asked to forgive. Some are small, and some are huge. I thought that forgiving the other person meant that I was excusing their behavior. But nothing could be farther from the truth. I’m not forgiving this person because of what they did is ok. I’m forgiving them for me, for my sake.

 They say to forgive and forget but I think they’re wrong. I think that by remembering you become better. By remembering what the other person did, you can use it to propel yourself forward, to grow.
I was asked not too long ago to forgive someone for something they did. I won’t tell you who it was or what I was asked to forgive, that doesn’t matter anyway, but it was huge, something I didn’t know if I would ever be able to forgive. There was no reason I should have forgiven this person and everyone was telling me I had the right to hold a grudge. Forgiveness did not come easy. And when it did come, it didn’t mean I was excusing the behavior. It was instead a “thank you for this experience.” It was letting go of what was no longer mine to hold onto. The need for revenge, the hurt, the hatred, the anger, the pain. But forgiving didn’t mean I forgot what this individual did. I will probably never forget what happened to me. It is a part of who I am and I am using it to push me, to grow me. Forgetting, I think, is like burying your head in the sand. It’s avoiding the purple elephant in the room. It isn’t possible to forget. Even if you push this thing out of your mind, it’s still there. Somewhere inside of you there is a place where all these memories go and you’ll remember. There is no hiding, no forgetting. So instead, I decided that instead of forgiving and forgetting I would forgive and grow. I would forgive and let go. I would forgive and make better choices next time, to learn from what happened to me and from my mistakes.

 What happened to me is still horrible and I am reminded of it every day when I wake up and look in the mirror. In choosing to forgive, in having that daily attitude of forgiveness like Martin Luther King Jr. suggests, I daily choose to let go of my need for revenge, let go of my pain, my anger, my hatred. I make a choice to surrender. Forgiveness, I am learning, isn’t an attribute of the weak, but instead something that requires so much strength. It isn’t excusing the behavior or letting someone off the hook. Forgiving isn’t about the other person at all. It’s about me. And you don’t have to forget to forgive. I would suggest you don’t. I didn’t. The memories of what happened have been stored and I will never forget, even if I do my best to push it out of my mind. I want to use these experiences to enable me to grow, to push myself forward into my future.
Forgiveness gave me the power to let go of my hatred and drop my anger and my pain and hold onto the things worth holding onto, like love, and family, and friendship and laughing on a Saturday afternoon at the lake. And somewhere, stored in my body, are the memories of what happened, tucked away for safe keeping. Once in a while I pull them out and dust them off, to remind me how strong I am, to remind me where I’m going. Remembering what happened to me gives me the power to grow, to know better and in turn do better. By choosing to remember I am empowered. By choosing to forgive I become strong. And by choosing to live with forgiveness and remembrance, I can embrace my future with open arms, able to hold onto relationships and love and sunny Saturday’s at the lake. I can grow and thrive and do better. By choosing forgiveness, by choosing to let me experiences push me and grow me and remembering that, I can truly live.

Alisha's post made me re-think my approach to forgiving people. It made me see it in a new light. It made this F-word a little less dirty.

To hear more of Alisha's wisdom and to learn a little bit more about her, you can check out her blog.

Love,
Jyllenna

Monday, 29 July 2013

What Do YOU Want??

So I've had this blog going for a few months now. During those months, I've been figuring out how to blog. I'm kind of slow with technology. I've also developed some great relationships with some readers over the last few months. All of this has been great.

Now, I'd love to hear what you as readers would like to see (or read, I guess). Would you like more posts (actually, I know I should be posting more...)? Would you like guest posts? More music? Has anything that I've said struck a chord and you'd like me to elaborate on that?Really, anything at all. I can take criticism too. You can comment here or message me on Facebook. I'd really, really (really!) appreciate it.

Over the next week, I'm going to be doing some planning and figuring out where I would like to go, and some input would be greatly appreciated.

And here's a music video, just cuz I can. Hopefully you'll get a little smile.

 
 
 
Love,
Jyllenna 

Monday, 22 July 2013

Lessons Learned in the Dementia Ward



This awesome woman is my grandma. She’s almost ninety years old, loves music of any kind, and would probably beat me in a fist fight. She also has Alzheimer’s. She lives in the dementia ward. She doesn’t know my name, my dad’s—her son’s—name, or really anyone else’s name. She isn’t even aware that her husband has died.

Sounds like pretty cruddy circumstances, doesn’t it? To be honest, I often think it is. Every time I go to see her, it breaks my heart. I hate that she doesn’t know the love of those who cherish her most. I hate that she doesn’t remember the good times in life. I hate that she can’t communicate with us. Every time I have to leave her, it breaks my heart to see her watching me leave, and then know that in a few minutes she won’t even remember than anyone came to see her.  

But every time I see her, I’m reminded of another side of the story. She is happier than she’s been in a long time. Even in a home with a bunch of people of all crazy types, she is always singing. She smiles. She laughs. She does knuckles and thumbs up (thanks to her awesome grandchildren teaching her). Some people say that she’s simply gone back to a happy place in life. While that may be true, I think there’s more to that story.

I think that right now, with her mind completely out of her control, all that’s left to show is who she truly is. All she has to give is what’s been growing in her heart. And what’s coming out of her is happiness—joy. Not even Alzheimer’s disease—a sickness that strips you of the ability to perform even menial tasks by destroying your memory—can steal her joy. No mental disease can change who she truly is.

Now, my grandma has not had an easy life—far from it, and she has not handled every circumstance in the best way. When she was young, she was teased because she couldn’t hear properly. After she got married, she discovered that she couldn’t have children, which brought scorn from other women. Then, when her and my grandpa adopted my dad and his brother, she lived in a constant state of insecurity. My dad’s brother ended up leaving home at fourteen because he had some major issues resulting from being shuffled through the foster care system for years. My grandma lost one of her most valuable treasures, and then she always had to live in the fear of my dad being taken away by his birth father—who was just a downright mean guy. She was scared to show too much love to my dad because she knew that the more she loved him, the more it would hurt if he were taken away. When my dad was ready to get married, she was really mean to my mom. She realized that my mom was going to take my dad away—her worst fear was coming true. Then, as Alzheimer’s started to take root in her brain, she became very difficult for us to be around. Her mind was changing, and she had no control of this. It scared her, and she responded in the only way she knew how. She fought. She fought against anyone trying to help her. She fought against anyone who she thought was a threat. It took her years to finally be in the place that she is today.

Her journey has been a difficult one, but she has finally arrived at a place of peace in her mind. While it may seem like the mental disease has won, nothing could be further from the truth. I see others in her ward. People who are grumpy. People who are downright angry at the world. I see people who are literally vegetables. Then I see her. No, she doesn’t know who I am. She doesn’t really know who anyone is. But she is still smiling and singing. She refused to give up the fight. She wouldn’t let a mental disease take away the very things that make her who she is.

There is something great in each one of us. I don’t care who you are, what you’ve done, or what’s been done to you. There is something unique and wonderful about you. This goes beyond your talents, or your perceived lack of talent. There is something so much greater than your amazing abilities in sports, academics or music. It’s the very core of you. It’s what’s buried under the crap that the world has thrown on you. If your mind were to shut down, you would probably lose all the talents that the world considers important, and all that would be left are the things you’ve been developing in your heart, whether it’s bitterness or the awesomeness that is you. There might be things that are trying to take your awesomeness away. Whether that is a mental disease, depression, a rotten friend, or horrible circumstances, you can’t give up. At the end of the day—at the end of your life—that uniqueness is what people are going to remember.
Love,
Jyllenna    

Sunday, 7 July 2013

When Emptiness is an Addiction

This post is really hard for me to write. I’m not gonna lie; it’s a bit of a heavy post. But one that needs to be shared. If nothing else, for my own sake. This is sort of the conclusion of my story (for now…I’m only sixteen; there’s WAY more to come!) True to every story, it gets darker right before the happy ending.

So here we go (big breath)!

We finally moved, and I declared that I wanted nothing to do with my old city, church, or friends. Other than my best friend, who still lived there, I was so done. I thought that now that I was out, everything would get better.
Wrong.

Things. Got. Way. Worse.
Tensions in everyone in my family had been building up, and I guess finally moving out was all that was needed to let everything out. Things at home were not good. My brother and I were being homeschooled, which we had never done before. That was not working. At all. My brother was having some challenges in his schoolwork and my mom—who is gifted in a lot of areas—is not gifted to be a teacher. So that was not working out. My academics were going okay, though I was still adjusting to the new format of schoolwork. I was instead stuck in a crazy emotional state, and that was putting a lot of stress on my relationship with the rest of my family, especially my mom. Honestly, my dad dreaded coming home after work, because he knew he would probably have to sort out some big argument between me and my mom.

Like I said, my emotional state was really making things difficult at home. I was never happy—almost to the point of tears most hours. I cried in my bed until I fell asleep, which usually took a few hours, and then I didn’t want to get up in the morning because I didn’t see a point. I didn’t feel the need to do anything. My schoolwork and good grades had always been a big deal to me, but I even lost motivation to do those. I was also extremely angry, and anything could set me off. I ate barely any food, partly because I hated the way I looked, partly because I just liked the emptiness. I thought I was so fat. I was so disgusted with myself, both inside and out. Anytime I did eat, I wanted to hurl it all back out. And I tried, but I was never able to. Then I got angry at myself for that. I was a big ol’ mess. Here’s the thing, though. Everything that I hated about the other city was not a problem anymore. The people in our new church were really nice. I was making new friends. There was no girl drama, no gossip, no bullying. So why had things gotten so much worse emotionally?

I was still me. I hadn’t truly dealt with the things that had happened in our other city. I had chosen to respond to and deal with it the wrong way, and now I was paying the consequences. The pain and emptiness and sadness were all I had known for the past several months. Now, I was scared to feel anything else. I didn’t want to be happy, because I knew that something would happen that would ruin that happiness. I was hesitant to open myself up to new friends, because I had experienced such hurt. I had blamed others for all my problems, without truly dealing with my heart. I didn’t enjoy feeling this way, but I didn’t want to take a risk of feeling good again.

The emptiness had become an addiction. Kind of a scary thought. No, I wasn’t addicted to meth or alcohol, but this emptiness was wreaking just as much havoc.

As Christmas came, I got more down. All the happiness around me that usually made Christmas my favorite holiday just irritated me now. The day after Christmas, I wrote this in my barely-used journal

“I feel so hopeless right now. I just want to stay in bed and cry myself to sleep over and over again... I’m just falling. Sometimes I catch a branch and I can hold on. Those times the whole world is going great. But then I fall again. Lower than I was before… I wasn’t ready for hell on earth. I pray and I go to church, but I feel nothing…Any moment, I could break.” Yikes.

Then on December 31, at 1:07 in the morning, I wrote again. Same sort of thing. I had just come back from a birthday party for some friends, and I had felt so out of place every moment there. Not because anyone was mean to me—just the opposite. Everyone was really nice, but I just wanted to crawl in a hole and cry. I started seeing a counselor. She helped me to put everything in perspective. She helped me to move past the death of my grandpa, and to start letting go of hurts. Man, it was hard and painful. Every time I thought I had made progress, I fell flat on my butt, and I didn’t want to get back up again. It was still hard to get out of bed. And frankly, I wasn’t really sure how my relationship with God was going.

Then one day, after I had dragged myself out of bed, I was reading my Bible, and I found this verse.

I can lie down and go to sleep, and I will wake up again, because the Lord gives me strength. I think I did a double-take. Something so simple. Just waking up, and God cared about that. I think that was when my healing truly began.

My path to healing has been rough. I still slip up—a lot. I still feel waves of bitterness come over me. Sometimes I think that I was better off when I wasn’t happy. Some days are just plain hard, and I want to hide back under my covers.

But I keep going. Because I have friends that believe in me. I have parents that believe in me. I have a God that believes in me. Maybe you find yourself in the same situation. Maybe school is over, and everyone around you is happy, but you just can’t be. The thought of happiness scares you. Maybe you’ve had people preach at you to just get over it. Maybe you’ve been told that there must be something wrong in your faith walk. Maybe you don’t give a crap about what God says.

Wherever you are right now, whether you’re in a pit, just climbing out of one, or on top of the world, I invite you to join me in finding a purpose stronger and greater than harmful addiction. Because at the end of the day, that was the biggest lesson I learned. I had to take my eyes off myself and my problems to see the bigger purpose around me—a purpose bigger than my mess. I’m still learning and growing. I still have to be careful to not slip into another severe depression. But I have a purpose now, and that makes life a little bit brighter.

As I’ve shared my story, I’ve talked a lot about God. He is very real to me, and I understand that not everyone feels the same way. I completely get that. No matter what your views, I’d still love to have you along. Maybe you’ll learn something new about my God who loves me enough to give me strength just to get out of bed in the morning. Or maybe you’ll learn some really good coping strategies. Either way, I think it’s worth a shot.


Love,
Jyllenna

   

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

After-Exam Reflections

I've finally emerged from the deep dark cave, commonly known as  studying for final exams. I think I'm still human, though I needed a good shower and a good shopping trip. So, one shower and $120 worth of clothes later, I feel able to put together a blog post. If I had tried to do it before, I probably would have rambled on about polynomial functions or thermochemical changes. But, no, I won't even go there.

My Grade 10 year ended and summer officially began yesterday at 12 pm after I handed in my last exam.  I've had a little bit of time to think about everything that went down in Grade 10. Yikes, there was a lot. Everything from moving to doing math in a tiny hotel room with my brother. Definitely a lot of ups and downs, but, hey, every year is full of those. My best friend also graduated, which is kind of a scary reality for me. I can't believe that she's actually done her time, and I'm not too far off.

 Usually it takes a few days after I finish school to realize that I really don't have to study anymore...for two months. Once I finally have that in my head, I try to have a little bit of R & R. Emphasis on the little bit. My family always has stuff going on. But even the little bit of me time I do find is great. If nothing else, I get to work on my tan.

 Grade 10 was kind of a difficult year. So, this summer, I'm going to focus even more on moving past some things, discovering more about myself, and having some fun. What about you?  I encourage you to use this summer as a learning time (Gasp! Learn while you're not in school!). You definitely learn a lot about yourself while your sitting in that classroom fighting off sleep or while you're hanging with your friends at lunch, but summer offers different learning opportunities. Go for a hike or a bike ride. Maybe develop some new relationships, or strengthen the ones you already have.

 Maybe you need to focus on healing. I need to do a bit of that. Healing from relationships that went sour. Healing from harsh words that someone said about you. Healing from the hurt you inflicted on yourself. Summer is an awesome time for new beginnings. Why not embrace it?

 If you make some interesting discoveries about yourself this summer, I'd love to hear about it!

Love,
Jyllenna

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:
A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.


                                                                                       Ecclesiastes 1-8 (The Message)

 

 

Friday, 14 June 2013

Dear Grandpa

One year ago today, I held my grandpa’s hand as he left this earth and went on to eternity. You can read about that here. The year following his death has been a crazy one. Honestly, I can’t believe that it’s already been a year. Sometimes, I think about what he looked like. What his personality was like. All those little things I took for granted, never realizing that they could be gone in the blink of an eye.

Losing someone you love is really hard. Whether it’s a parent, a grandparent, a sibling, or a pet, the pain is really intense. That hole in your heart hurts. Then, after they pass, there’s the craziness of funeral planning and you see more family members than you realize you had. Sorting through my grandpa’s things was also really rough. As I looked through his clothes and photo albums, I was reminded of all the times I didn’t value him. How I simply assumed he would be there forever.  

After my grandpa died, I wasn’t sure what to do with my emotions. I didn’t feel right letting him go. It just didn’t feel right to move on with my life without him. I cried. I still cry. But I had to move on. It’s what he would’ve wanted me to do. He was a very practical man, and probably wouldn’t have wanted me to sit around crying and feeling guilty.
If you’ve lost someone you love, cry a little. Miss them. Maybe write them a letter. Do something that will make them proud. And I can tell you what wouldn’t make them proud. You being angry at yourself. You feeling guilty. You letting your fear hold you back. The people that were close to you loved you. They shared in your dreams, and nothing would break their hearts more than seeing you put those dreams on hold because you simply can’t move on.

Grieve for them. Then live in such a way that carries on their legacy.
Dear Grandpa,

Every day, I think about you. I miss you. I wish I’d spent more time with you while you were here. I wish I’d valued you more.

I still cry. I still regret things. If I could just have one more minute with you, I’d tell you again how much I loved you. I’d ask you for more of your stories. I’d read you more stories. I’d play one more game of crazy rummy even though I always lose. I’d play one more game of checkers, even though I always lose. Maybe I’d try to find a game that I could actually win at. We’d listen to more Selena Gomez music, because you liked her songs. Then maybe I’d show you some better music.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the last year, Grandpa. I’ve also learned a lot of lessons. I hope you’re smiling about what I’m doing right now.

I know you’re in a better place now, Grandpa. And I can’t wait to see you again.

Love,
Jyllenna

               

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Moving On

My last post was a kinda depressing, wasn’t it? Yeah, I was feeling a little bit down. I’m still on the recovering end. But things are getting better. Sometimes ya just gotta shove your face in some cake and trust things will get better. While you’re shoving your face in cake, you thank God for a best friend who’s willing do it with you—and pray for you.

Thankfully my story is not done being written (as shown by the little glitch in my emotional system last week). If any of you are struggling right now, and totally identify with what I wrote last week, please find someone you can talk to. That’s what I did. A best friend or a parent or someone. And maybe shove your face in some cake. 

Anyway, moving on from all that, here’s a little bit more of my story.
After I had finished up school, the craziness of moving really began. We were packing, sorting, cleaning, and repeating. I also started online school. I was a little bit stressed, but I was still hopeful because we were going to be moving soon. Every time I felt angry, I told myself that it would all get better once we moved. I believed that all the gloominess I was feeling would go away once I was finally out.

But the stress was building—fast! Instead of having to deal with girl drama, I now had to deal with the hassles of moving, working in really hard schoolwork, and sorting through family conflicts that were arising out of the tension. It was a pretty crazy time for everyone. I can’t really remember everything that happened during those 2 months that we were preparing to move. It was mostly a blur.
But one memory is still vivid.

I was actually out in the new city helping some of our relatives move. I was feeling really down and stressed, mostly because I had some really hard math that I was working on and had to get done because I was behind (side note—don’t ever try to take on math in the middle of a big move. Just don’t.) I had just finished reading Anything but Normal by Melody Carlson. I put the book down and I started bawling. The book was about a Christian teenager who finds herself pregnant. She had to learn to let God forgive her, and she had to forgive herself and others. Now, I wasn’t pregnant, but the message of forgiveness hit me so hard. I was so angry at myself for the mess I had become. I was mad at myself for not being a good friend, for liking pain, for being mean to my family, and for not knowing what to do as I watched my grandpa die. I laid there on my bed in the dark, listening to God tell me to let it all go. That He still loved me. That He had forgiven be because I had asked (over and over!)
I shook my head that night. I told God that I wasn’t good enough. That I would mess it up again. Finally, I cried myself to sleep.

The next morning and for the next few weeks, I tried to talk to God and tried to make up for the things I had done, but I kept messing up.
The emptiness was growing. As the weeks continued, food became disgusting to me. I didn’t want to eat, and when I did, I felt sick. I just didn’t want to be full of anything.

I felt helpless, and I kept counting down the days until we moved.
I would really like to go on, but then this post could become a novel, so I’ll stop there. As I think about how I couldn’t forgive myself, I can see how badly it hurt me. Please don’t make that same mistake. You are not such a horrible person that you can’t be forgiven.  Even by yourself.  You are not a failure. You don’t deserve the pain and emptiness. No matter what anyone has told you. No matter what you’ve told yourself.

God does forgive. I don’t know what your opinions are on God. Maybe you see him as harsh, judging, and just downright mean. Maybe you don’t really care about God. But I know, in my heart, that God forgives. He’s not harsh and judging. We’re the ones that are harsh and judging. God is there to forgive and help us start over. No matter how many times we have to do that.
We just have to accept that forgiveness.

“Love is when a man wipes away your tears…even after your sins left Him hanging on a cross.”

Love,
Jyllenna

 

Saturday, 1 June 2013

A Post from the Pit

Today's post is a little bit different than my other posts. If it seems weird, just stick with it. I promise it has a happy ending.

Have you ever felt like you hit a wall at 100 miles an hour? Honestly, that's how I fell right now. Over the last month, I had a lot of awesome experiences. I was really happy, and everything was going great.

Then, BAM!

There's the wall. And I'm still seeing stars. The last 2 weeks have been rough for me. It's familar ground, and it scares me. I've had a tough time getting out of bed. I've cried myself to sleep. I've lacked the motivation to do anything. Scary things.

But right now, as I write this, I know things are gonna change. I chose to believe what I know to be true. I know that there is always a Light brighter than the darkness. I know that I am an overcomer.

Stress is a scary thing, and I feel  a lot of it right now. Exams are coming. Schoolwork is challenging. I feel inadequate. Insecure.

Inesecurity is also a scary thing. Lately, insecurity has been raring its big ugly head. I just don't want to be rejected. Again.

Guys, down here in the pit, those are the kinds of thoughts that fill your mind. Every problem you face is magnified. You cry. You ache. You get angry. Maybe you physically hurt yourself. Maybe you hurt others. No one understands.

So we think.

But I choose to believe that Someone is there, aching with me. Crying with me. Waiting for me to call for help. I choose to believe this because I know it's true.

I know that not everyone reading this believes the same as I do. Sometimes it's hard for me to believe it.

But while you're crying, wondering if life will ever get better, try calling for Someone bigger than you. I had to do that. And guess what. Rainbows didn't appear. I didn't jump up and dance for joy. Things didn't just magically get better. But I got though the night. I know that I was heard.

So, if you're down in the pits, choose to believe what you know is true--not what you feel. Man, I know it's hard. Writing this post has been hard. Right now, every minute is a fight for me. You can cry too. In fact, cry a lot. I've done that several times in the last few day. And call for the One who is crying with you. Join me. Let's watch things change. Sure, our circumstances might not change, but we'll change. For the better.

And finally, eat chocolate. Seriously, God made it for a reason.

Love
Jyllenna

"In my distress, when seemingly closed in, I called upon the Lord and cried to my God; He heard my voice...my cry came before Him, into His very ears." Psalm 18:6

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

When Love Sees You

      

I don't have a lot of time to put together a big post. Though, trust me, I would way rather be doing a post than doing the math I have to do. Unfortunately, my teachers insist that my schoolwork must be done. So, instead I'm posting the lyric video for one of my favorite songs. While I was struggling, it was one of the songs that got me through. I hope you enjoy!

Love,
Jyllenna

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Great Expectations

Before I even get into this post (which is not about the novel Great Expectations—seriously, I will never, ever talk about classic literature. Ick!), I just want to say thank you to all the people who have been sending me messages and comments with encouragement. It really means so much to me. Which also brings me to my second point. If anyone has any feedback, positive or negative, I would be happy to hear it. I’m new to the blogging world, and I’ll take all the help I can get!


Now, here’s a little bit more of my story.

Near the end of summer 2012, I thought I was finally getting over some stuff. I felt stronger. It also helped that I knew I would be gone from that city soon. In retrospect, I can see that I hadn’t really made a full recovery. My hope and happiness was purely built on the fact that I would be gone soon. I hadn’t really dealt with anything in my heart. Nonetheless, I was happier and my family enjoyed being around me a little bit more.

Then my dad dropped the bomb. I was going to go to a summer camp with my old school and attend that school for about a month until we moved.

I. Was. Mad.

So I definitely wasn’t over everything. It wasn’t anyone else’s fault. It was just taking some time. A few hours after my dad had told me the news, I was finally calmed down. And I made a decision. I decided that I was going to have fun at this summer camp and during that first month of school. It had been a whole summer. A lot can happen in a summer. I knew that much. I believed that things would be different between me and my friends. Looking back now, I guess I actually had made some progress. I would never have been able to make that kind of a decision before.

I started packing for the summer camp. I was actually excited to see my friends who truly did mean a lot to me. When I got to camp, everything was great. For the first two days. The camp ran from Sunday night to the following Friday night. On that Friday, I crawled into my mom’s car crying really hard. Nothing had changed. I was still treated the same way. And I think it hurt more because I had expected things to be different. I was expecting too much.

The camp had included tryouts for our school volleyball team, and the coach was willing to let me play for the month that I was actually at school. Initially I had been excited about this, but after that week at camp, I told my parents that there was no way I was going to play volleyball with the team. I would go to school for the month, but after that, I was never going back. In the hours that followed that declaration, I thought it through and decided that I would play volleyball because it was the right thing to do. I knew that if I quit the team, it wouldn’t be in good conscience. As it turned out, packing for a crazy big move consumed all of our time, and I wasn’t able to play.

So, school came and again I made the decision to be happy. That stuck for about the first week. Again, I went in expecting way too much. I figured that because all my friends knew I was leaving, they would at least be willing to sit with me at lunch. Nope. The whole cycle started all over again. I would put my lunch down, and everyone else would go two tables over. Nothing had changed since last school year. Finally, I didn’t think I could take the isolation anymore. I put in a lot of extra hours of homework just so I could finish all my schoolwork and leave the school early.

On my last day, I was actually hoping to sneak out. I would just leave at lunch, and no one would know (or care, so I thought). But, my teacher (who was an awesome teacher) announced my departure to the class. To my surprise, I actually got a lot of tearful hugs and goodbyes. I was so shocked. And I actually cried. So maybe this school and the people did still have a place in my heart. Under my sadness.

For as long as I can remember, my dad has been hammering into me not to have super high expectations on anyone. Because you will be disappointed. He says that expectations are relationship killers. People are people. I’m not perfect; they’re not perfect. Other people’s expectations might differ from yours, and they can’t live up to your expectations if they don’t even know what you want! A lot of the hurt I experienced was due to my expectations. One of the first things my counselor told me was “Accept; don’t expect.” I can’t change anyone except myself. If I could go back in time and re-do everything, I would accept people for who they are. It would have saved me a lot of stress and heartache. Yeah, it’s really hard to not expect, but the pain from the disappointment is definitely much harder.
Love,
Jyllenna

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Never Alone


After my grandpa died, it was a whirlwind. Trying to plan funerals and all that stuff really doesn’t give you any time to grieve. The day after he died, my parents had to have a bunch of meetings with lawyers and funeral planners. I had an appointment with the orthodontist (and I hate the orthodontist!). After my appointment, I went shopping because my parents couldn’t pick me up. I can remember everything I bought that day and where I ate. Needless to say, it was not a very fun shopping trip. Then came my grandpa’s funeral and all that jazz. After that, I was sort of able to start sorting out what had happened. I cried. I ate a lot of junk food. I tried to kinda talk to God, but honestly, I had no desire to. I wasn’t mad at Him, but when you’re hurting, you push away the ones that care the most about you. I was a whole mess of emotions, and I just didn’t think that God wanted to deal with that.

                Soon, my dad went back to his job in the new city, and the rest of us started packing and getting ready to move. I tried to move on, and I pushed aside the pain that I was feeling. I became numb to any feelings except one. Anger. I was so angry about the way everything had gone down before my grandpa died. I lashed out at everyone. I hated the city that I was living in. I wanted to get out so bad. The only thing that really kept me going was knowing that in a couple months, I could leave all the crap of that city behind.

                Beginning of July, I started trying to get my life back together. I got a puppy, which helped me to take my eyes off myself and focus on taking care of a young life. I tried to talk to God again. I started reading The Purpose Driven Life, which was really good. For all of July and August, I was up and down a lot. There were definitely more bad days than good though. I cried myself to sleep a lot. During those nights, though, as I was crying, those were the times when I heard God speak. Even if I didn’t want to listen. Even if I told Him to get lost. 

                Summer of 2012 was a really rough summer. As I writing this, almost a year later, I’m getting tears in my eyes because I still remember how hard it was. And how much harder things became. Maybe what hurt the most that summer was how I tried to change but constantly messed up. Every time I messed up, I got angrier and angrier at myself and at the world around me. I couldn’t forgive myself or others, and I thought that surely God couldn’t either.

                But I was wrong. Honestly, when I was really, really low, I couldn’t see God. But He was there. And He is there for you.

For He (God) Himself has said, “I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down (relax my hold on you)! Assuredly not!”                                                                                      Hebrews 13:5 (Amp)

Love,
Jyllenna

Sunday, 5 May 2013

When Hell Gets Hotter


             

You know in movies when the character says “Things can’t get any worse,” and then their car explodes or something? Why do you think we all find that so funny? Maybe because we can all relate to it. I know I relate to it.

                So, the school year was finally done and we were going to move. I thought my problems were over, and things would never get as bad as they were. I forgot two things though. One, I was still me. I still had to deal with the things that were wrong in my own heart otherwise my problems would never go away. Two, I forgot about one problem that didn’t involve me, but would affect me.  I forgot about my grandpa who was having a tough time of his own.  As you could probably guess, I was about to get jolted back to that reality.

                School got out on around June 8. On June 14, I was out working in one of our rental houses with two extended family members. Actually, that whole week, I had been out with them. And I was really not enjoying any of it. That whole week, they had been talking about my grandpa, and not saying the nicest things about him. Here’s the thing. No one is perfect—not even my grandpa. I’ve hurt people, and I regret it. Apparently, my grandpa had made some people angry about fifty—fifty!—years ago, and one of my extended family members wasn’t about to let it go.  Hearing all this, I got pretty ticked at my relatives, not my grandpa. How could they be so bitter toward my dying grandpa?  So, on June 14 we got a call from the care home he was staying at. He had really taken a turn for the worse, and they didn’t think he would make it through the night. Not cool.

 We left and headed to see him. It was about a thirty minute drive to see him. And the whole way, I listened to those relatives talk about what a horrible person my grandpa was. I was livid, but I didn’t show it. I just kept thinking I hope you guys have someone to say nice things about you on your deathbed, because I sure won’t. We finally got to the care home, and when I saw my grandpa, I broke down. He looked dead already. He saw us when he came in, he said, “I’m sorry; I’m sorry.” My heart  broke. He was a Christian, and he knew that he was going to heaven. Still, he couldn’t forgive himself, even though God already had.  I sat with him and held his hand.

I was so angry and hurt. And scared! No one close to me had ever died.

My relatives soon left, because they had other stuff to do, my mom was coming with my brother, and my dad was still on his way from the new city he was working at. Soon, it was just me and my dying grandpa. I watched his breaths get slower and slower. He held my hand, and I talked to him. As his breaths got slower and slower, he lifted his hands to heaven like he was reaching for Jesus.  I wanted someone to come be with me. I had never seen anyone die. I was all by myself for a while until my grandpa’s brother came, but I really didn’t know them. Finally, my grandpa’s next breath didn’t come. I checked for a pulse and found nothing. The nurse came and confirmed it. My grandpa had gone to be with Jesus.

Shortly afterwards, my dad, mom, and brother all arrived. I was still stunned and angry. I didn’t let anyone get close to me. I physically pushed people away. The only comfort I found was that my grandpa was in a better place.

Losing my grandpa was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. It sent me on a spiral downward, lower than I ever thought was possible. At the same time, I saw God in a way I never thought possible. I know he was right there, with my grandpa and with me. The image of my grandpa lifting his hands to God, who forgives and comforts, is an image that stayed with me as I struggled in the months to come. I saw God in a bigger light. I hope that if you too are struggling, you will see the God that I saw and that you will know that even when it seems like God is so far away, He’s really right there.

Love,

Jyllenna

               

Thursday, 25 April 2013

More of My Story

Wow! First of all, let me say that I am so amazed by the responses I've gotten. It's amazing how you decide to share something that's been on your heart and right away you connect with more people just like you. I love it!

So, here's a little bit more about me. For the previous post, click here. 


I was counting down the days until school was done.  During that time, I found every excuse to skip youth group, hung out with my best friend, and cried myself to sleep.

I was not--and I am not-- a perfect teen. I realize that I did some things that might have made the other girls start avoiding me. I’m opinionated, and my school was full of opinionated people, which is usually not a good combination. I was also a good student. Maybe I intimidated others, though that was not my intent. There’s also the girl kingdom to consider. In the girl kingdom, when one girl decides she doesn’t like you, she’ll convince others to not like you. That might have been what happened in my situation. Regardless, it happened.

We did talk to my teacher, and she was able to ask the girls why they were avoiding me like the plague. They said I was opinionated, always thought I was right, and I didn’t mind saying so. There probably was some truth in what they said. I can admit that I might have been like that. But honestly, I don’t really remember talking much around the girls at all because I didn’t want to make them mad. Nonetheless, I decided to change. Every time I was with them, I didn’t say when I disagreed. I just smiled and nodded. And counted the days until I was out of there.

I hadn’t turned my back on God, but I started pulling away. I was ashamed. I hated everything about myself and my school. I didn’t feel anything when I went to church, and I didn’t really like going. I wanted to hurt myself because I thought it would be a release, yet I couldn’t bring myself to do it--I felt like a failure. I was aching so bad inside. Honestly, I would’ve been glad if one morning I just didn’t wake up.

Then came the first ray of hope. Maybe the first time I felt God in a long time.  My dad got offered a job in another city. After a lot of payer, and actually turning the job down two times, my dad accepted.  I thought my problems were over. In a few months, I was going to be able to move away to people who didn't know me. I was happy. But the happiness didn't last very long. Hell got a lot worse.
That's not the end of my story, but that's where I'll stop for today.  Thanks for reading, and again, I'd love to hear from you. If you're going through hell, or if hell just got hotter, please find someone you can talk to and comment here if you like.  Also, if you or someone you know might like to do a guest post, I'd be really open to that.
Love,
Jyllenna