heartache

He felt sick. Well, not really sick, it was more of that lonely, rejected, dark, silent feeling.

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It was a black August night.
As he sat behind the wheel of his old Chevy on the desolate plains of Nebraska he turned up the volume. It was some heart-achy Brantley Gilbert song that he hoped would drown out the voices in his head.

“Yeah she’s gone, but I don’t feel like talking…
you don’t know her like I do.
You’ll never understand.”

But those voices in his head just wouldn’t pipe down. They screamed out as they circled in his head. It was like a haunted carrousel in a bad dream…it never stopped. The same old memories and thoughts went around and around, driving him mad.

Had it been worth it?
He had savored those sweet moments with her under the cool summer sky. It felt like his heart was dancing on the breezes that played with her long blonde hair. They had been brighter than the most glowing stars on a midnight canvas. Now those memories were bitter sweet.
As he swallowed back some tears the taste made his stomach churn. Was the soaring bliss and blind passion worth this feeling of desolation now?

This is our poor friend’s question:
Is it better to feel fiercely high and then despondently low or better to remain constantly…average?

I have a feeling he’ll never know.
It just isn’t in his nature to be ‘average’. His highs are high and his lows are low. When he’s having a good time, there is not a soul in the world that is as full of happiness. But when he hurts, it cuts deeper and longer than most people ever experience.

It’s in those low, desolate moments when he thinks that no one will ever know how he feels. But, you know, I think a lot of people feel like that. And here is the secret to getting back up…

When its so dark that you can’t even see the hand in front of your face
if you can remind yourself that you’re not the only one in the dark,
you can find the light switch.

An owl swooped by his window and woke him from his trance. He unsnapped his seatbelt and pushed open the creaky old door. “How do I let myself get so attached? Why do I care so deeply?” he thought and then slammed the door shut in disgust.

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It’s going to take him some time to feel better, but I have hope for him.
People are so resilient. As I talk to people about the real life heartache that happens to them every day I’m amazed at how amazing you all are.

Every day people get dumped, divorced, and lose close friendships. And every morning these people get up, get ready for work and slap on a smile to get through the day. Then the weekend comes and they call their friends, fire up the Jeep, grab the fishing poles and head out to the water to shoot the breeze and enjoy life.

God has fearfully and wonderfully made us. Of that I grow more sure every moment. Even at our lowest there is something inside deep down that wants to find the light, the hope, and the joy.

In my limited experiences the one thing that has never failed me is that flicker of joy burning steadily in my soul. It’s always there. Sometimes it burns a little brighter. Sometimes I do things to extinguish it, but it’s resilient and keeps burning.

It’s God.
Jesus in my soul…

He knocked at the door many years ago and I answered. Since that day I’ve never looked back.
Never does He pester or hound me, as He sometimes should.
Always does He sooth and comfort me, as I don’t deserve.

I hope that if you haven’t ignited that flame of peace, you’ll at least think about it.
You know the story. Jesus loves us. He died for us. He forgives us.
He just wants us to accept that. Why is that so hard?
In your lifetime, how many gifts have you rejected? Straight up told the gift giver, “Nope. I don’t want that.”

gpThink about that for a few minutes. Maybe you’ve rejected a lot of gifts. Do you regret it? Ask all of the questions you have. If you want, talk to Him about it. Tell Him about your doubts. Tell Him how sad and lonely or frustrated and angry you feel. I’ve done it.

What’s the worst thing that could happen? If He’s not there and He doesn’t care then you wasted a few minutes.

But I tell ya, if you just watch the sun set with all of its vibrant hues or take some time to learn about the insanely complex anatomy of your body you’ll know that He’s for real.

He’s the one person in my life that has never let me down or disappointed me.

“And SURELY I am with you ALWAYS,
to the very END OF THE AGE.”
~Matthew 28:20

Oh, and before you assume, or ask, the answer is no. This story is not about me. It’s not about a particular friend either. It’s about everyone. We all experience these emotions in one circumstance or another. Some elements of the things I talk about are more real for me, which I am thankful for. I’m thankful for my experiences because they’ve given me limited understanding and compassion for the stories of others around me.

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Crazy girl, don’t you know that I love you…
My mind is so full of wild memories with you. Singing our hearts out in the truck, skating our souls out in ice skating practice, crying at our losses and laughing about the good times until it hurts. Who knew what a beautiful, wild life we’d have? When I see you today and I’m amazed by the person you’ve become, so caring and loving.

2014-05-18 18.43.47The next thing I think of is: I’m sorry I haven’t always been there for you. I’ve been silly and distracted. Seeing that now makes me so sad!

Its funny how life changes, unexpectedly and all at once and it leaves you sitting on the cold hard floor looking around wondering where you are and how you got there.

When I found myself there I looked up and Jesus was smiling, telling me to get up and that everything would be okay. As He helped me up from my puddle of tears and brokenness; He wiped my eyes and pointed at the setting sun.

There it was, setting on a chapter in my life with flames of orange, pink, and yellow that licked the rugged Rocky Mountains and drew silver linings around the deep blue clouds above. A part of my life had ended and I smiled as I watched the vibrant colors fade to purple and then deep blue and finally gray. That part of my story was filled with pages of laughter, tears, achievements and failures.

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One of the most glaring failures was my neglect of you little sister. Who was there, in the depths of my despair…yep, it was lil K-ditty.

When you’re going through life at the speed of sound and everything is crazy and normal sometimes the most important people in your life become like the living room furniture. You walk right by them and you don’t even see them. You sit on them, spill things on them and after a while they get messy and start falling apart.

Just like a dilapidated house falls apart, each nail becoming rusty and every little layer of dust piling upon itself, relationships don’t fall apart suddenly.

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Society hands us a cell phone smarter than the supercomputers that got us to the moon; gives us 300 channels to watch on tv; tells us to climb ladders to build our careers; take extravagant vacations; nurture our perfect little families; party it up with our fabulous friends and then post every glorious moment on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for the world to admire and envy.

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But lets not transfer the blame to where it doesn’t belong. Society is a problem, yes, but who lives in that society? What people have built this society…? Something bigger and much closer to home is at the root of all of these shenanigans…

We are often so selfish that we can’t even see past our Insta-filtered noses to realize that WE are our own biggest problem. I can sit here for hours and blame my friends, my ex, my job, my church, my fitness routine …my…my… for the reason I neglected one of the people that means the most to me.

It was my fault. My problem.

Jesus is always saving me from myself. Sometimes it takes drastic measures for Him to get my self-absorbed attention, but He always knows what He needs to do. I believe that every good and perfect thing comes from above, and that God is not capable of doing bad things.

It takes some heavenly perspective sometimes to see that what He is doing is ultimately for the good and sometimes He is gracious enough to show us what He’s doing. I’m so thankful that He cared enough to wake me up to show me what I have and what I was looking right past.

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So here’s to making more memories, learning from the past and laughing about every crazy thing that happens to us. Happy Birthday little sister! I love you so much and for all the glorious years to come!

lasting success

There once was a girl who had a great life, but she always wished for more.

She loves her family and friends, has a good education and a good job but her search for the next best thing borders on un-gratefulness.
One day, this young lady was offered her dream job. She became a producer for NBC Universal Sports. They immediately flew her out to cover the upcoming Olympic Games. She loved it and worked her heart out.

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There was a trip every week, or at least every other week, for a year. She covered all the major sporting events and spent time doing in-depth athlete stories in the off seasons. All this wasn’t enough.
Her relentless pursuit of happiness and success drove her to want more. One connection led to another and she found herself with a dream-come-true offer to direct shows for the Travel Channel. She eventually got her own travel show to host. Our damsel became happier and wealthier than ever before. Her passport filled with stamps from the most beautiful, exotic locations in the world. After a little while that same disconcerting itch always came back. She couldn’t help herself, she still wanted more. She wasn’t successful enough yet.

How could she not be content?

It didn’t make any sense to her either. Something was not right in her heart, in her soul. There was some inherent drive that she couldn’t quench or satisfy.

She sits in her apartment overlooking the Florida Gulf watching the sky fade to an ominous grey. Growing waves crash dangerously close to the stilts of her beach home. The torrential downpour of rain soon shuts out every other sound and thought from her mind and she races to evacuate.

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Three weeks later she finds herself standing in front of the wreckage of what used to be her home.
Resting on the beams that remained of her neighbor’s house she surveys the almost total destruction of their homes. The steady swell and break of the waves on the now peaceful white sands of the beach lulls her into a trance. As the wind howls a self centered day-dream fills her thoughts.

As an accomplished woman with a star-studded resume and glorious career she was in a word, successful. Women define success in many different ways. Some want to marry well, becoming wealthy and by virtue of their adoring husbands. Others’ primary goal is to have a family and raise children. For many of the fairer sex making a lot of money and having a competitive career is vitally important. More pious ladies find fulfillment in doing charitable work. The wander-lusty damsel mounts the highest peaks and surfs the wildest waves to find her personal satisfaction.

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Some of these things our heroine had achieved; some she cared little for, but that one thing in her soul was very noticeably missing. This crucial and often absent piece of every woman’s story often goes un-missed. The dear girl can get so lost in the list of things that need to happen she forgets her purpose for being on this earth.

The wind, blowing so gently, had enough force to free a tiny sheet of paper that had been wedged in a wooden crevice. The paper floated by her feet and was nearly swept out to sea when she leaned forward and snatched it.
As she unfolded the water-marked, wafer thin sheet, she could barely see if anything was inscribed upon it. But as she held it up to the yellow rays of the sun she could make out one sentence amid the dozens of letters on the page.

“For ME, to LIVE is Christ and to die is gain.”–Phil 1:21

Meditating on this for a moment she was stunned; this is what she was missing! Here was the definition of eternal success.
Nothing she had ever done or ever wanted to do in her successful life really mattered in eternity.
She had done it all with a self-serving heart.

It was all for her. Well she had done a few things for others, but never had she ever done anything for Christ. Not even volunteering at the Denver Rescue mission at Christmas time, or singing in the choir at church on Sunday morning, or helping that little girl at the mall find her parents mattered. As she had done each of these things her goal had always been to get some good karma coming her way. Everything here on earth gets washed away and dies, but the soul and heart deep things we do for Him, those are the things that will last for all of eternity.

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As she sat there reflecting, the weight of sadness for a life not fully lived weighed on her shoulders.
There was no need for her to bear heavy burden of disappointment and failure.

So our fabulous heroine got up from her seaside perch with a lift in her step and peace in her heart.

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Why?
Because she knew that from then on whatever she did and wherever she went she could do all things to HIS glory. Down the road her heart fell back into its selfish ways, but as long as she remembered God’s love and closeness to her she could call out and ask Him to help her bring her back.
And it was then that she found true, lasting and meaningful success.