confessions.

Taylor Confessions.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or you don’t go to Taylor), you’ve heard about it. And you know about all the controversy that this facebook page has caused. In the days since the page was created, people have applauded, criticized, called it out and more. 

(If you don’t know what it is, here is the link to the page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Taylor-Confessions/173240992823553?ref=ts&fref=ts)

When I look through the many posts, all I see is brokenness, shame, and fear. The circumstances in each are different but the feelings are the same: people feel alone. People feel ashamed of their struggles. People feel as though they can’t tell anyone what they are going through for fear of judgment. 

That absolutely breaks my heart. It breaks my heart that I probably know some of these people, pass them on the sidewalk, have classes with them, talk to them. It breaks my heart that they don’t feel like they are in a safe place, that they don’t feel that they have anyone to turn to. 

 And it breaks my heart that judgment on campus is so prevalent that it is the reason for so much hiding, that so many people would rather hurt than deal with the judgment of others. 

Judgment, fear, and shame are not of God, they are of Satan. They are tools that Satan uses to keep us from living in community with God and each other. He fills us with guilt for our struggles, struggles that weren’t even ours to begin with, but that he gave us. And then he fills our heads with lies about this guilt – that we have brought it upon ourselves and that we are damaged and unworthy because of it. Satan also fills us with the fear of telling people, because if anyone knows what we did, no one would want to be associated with us. So we keep it inside, we don’t tell anyone because no one can know that we struggle with that. And that guilt turns to shame. The shame burrows deeper in our mind until it starts to fester and consume us, and we begin to believe the lies. We believe that we are damaged, we believe that we are unworthy. And we get stuck. We end up right where Satan wants us.

When we let shame rule our lives, we let Satan win. 

And the only way to beat him is to share our struggles with one another. We will never overcome them if we aren’t sharing them with the body of supporting and loving believers.

Believe me, I’ve been there. I know how hard it is. I struggle everyday. But it’s time to be real. So that’s what I’m going to do. Here are some of my struggles:

  • Because I was sexually abused when I was young, I struggle with sexual addiction. And yes, I am a girl that struggles with sexual sin. It’s not just a “guy thing.”
  • I am medicated for depression and anxiety. I have spent a great amount of my time at Taylor severely depressed and have contemplated suicide numerous times.
  • I struggle with self-worth. I don’t respect myself or view myself as lovable and because of that, I turn to guys for love and attention, which has led me to make a lot of mistakes that I regret.

I don’t write these things to brag. They are things that I have been incredibly ashamed of and have tried to hide from everyone and that consumed my life and my thoughts. It wasn’t until I told someone about my struggles that they stopped having power of me, and that I was released from the chains of shame that I had allowed Satan to put me in.

Please. Don’t resort to anonymously sharing what you are going through on a Facebook page. Find someone, anyone, to talk to. Heck, the person I talk to is my counselor Hope, she knows more about me than anyone in the world.

And please. If someone has the bravery to come to you with their struggles, do not judge them. Don’t let Satan have that power over your life either. We don’t know the circumstances that brought them to that place, and we don’t need to. We just need to love them. 1 John 4:18 says that perfect love drives out fear. Sharing is the first step, and your response in love is the second step. With these steps and with the help of God, we have the power to overcome the cycle of shame and defeat Satan.

As much flack as it has received, I have an appreciation for Taylor Confessions because it is opening eyes to the pain and brokenness of this campus. Don’t let the things you read there be swept under the rug and forgotten. Pray that God uses this opportunity to start a revolution on this campus of freedom from shame and lies. 

 

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” – Romans 12:9 – 10

 

 

 

 

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finding joy.

Thus far, this semester has been a time of overcoming: overcoming fears, overcoming insecurities, and, mostly, overcoming my past. As I’ve worked through these things, I have found different venues and opportunities to do so. In my magazine and feature writing class, we had an assignment where we needed to write a personal experience article, taking something from our life, an experience that we’ve had, and turning it into something that others can read and find helpful or uplifting. I chose to write about a defining moment in my life that has caused years of pain that I have finally overcome. Here it is:

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“Finding Joy”

By the age of five, she knew what it was to have a broken heart.
It was a usual weeknight, and she and her mother were seated at their small kitchen table in their two bedroom apartment. In the middle of eating dinner, the phone rang. Her mom answered, and the girl could tell by the tone of her mom’s voice that it was him. She listened as the conversation grew more and more tense, both her mother’s voice and the muffled voice on the other line rising in frustration. She stared at the circular clock on the wall opposite her, and watched each second pass, tick-tick-tick, while she did her best to tune both voices out.
“He wants to talk to you,” her mother suddenly said to her, slamming the phone down in frustration.
The child’s heart skipped a beat. She picked up the phone, her heart in my throat, so eager to hear his voice. He wants to talk to me, she thought anxiously. She brought the phone to her ear.
“Daddy?”
“Hi honey…” He paused, and she heard a long sigh. “I need to talk to you about something…”
She listened, expressionless, while everything she knew, everything she believed in, everything she hoped for, came tumbling down.
That was the last conversation she and her father ever had. It was the conversation that changed everything.
This is the story of a father calling his five-year-old daughter to say he never wanted to see or speak to her again. This is the story of a child watching the castle she had created in her mind, where she was loved, valued, protected, and wanted, slowly crumble to the ground. This is the story of a girl struggling with depression, self-hatred, anger, and feeling unworthy of love as a result. And this is the story of a girl finding love and joy despite the pain and struggles of her past.
This is my story.
It begins with the story of my parents: engaged at 16, eloped the day after graduation, parents of their first and only child (me) at 20 – the epitome of a whirlwind marriage. A year after I was born, they divorced.
For the first few years, my father half-heartedly attempted to remain in my life. Eventually, he remarried, had more children, and began viewing me as an inconvenient reminder of his past. When I was five, my father walked out of my life and has never once looked back.
Life went on: my mom and I moved to a new state to “start over,” and my mom remarried when I was 7. Every day I tried to earn love – love from my mother, love from my teachers, love from my peers, love from my stepdad – because I didn’t think I was worthy of love as I was. I had to prove that I was worthy.
My mother told me of a God, a Heavenly Father, who loved me unconditionally. The word “father” brought ¬feelings of inadequacy, of never measuring up, of not being enough. I didn’t like that word, so I didn’t like that God.
I lived my life in a maze I couldn’t figure out, and at the center was the love I ached for every day. At every wrong turn – every bad grade, every disappointment to my parents, every affirmation of my insecurities – I became more lost and farther from ever escaping.
I was lonely, I was empty. I was a hollow shell. I contemplated suicide almost every day. I ached for love with every piece of my being, and I felt like I would never be enough for it.
What it took me so long to realize, what has been shown to me countless times, what I still struggle with believing every day, is that there is someone who loves me even though my father didn’t, whose love for me is unconditional, infinite, perfect, who could never love me more for anything I’ve done or accomplished because He already loves more than I could ever imagine.
I had “tried” having a relationship with God before: putting Him on like a pair of shoes at a department store and throwing Him aside when I felt like He wasn’t working for me. But God finally grabbed hold of my heart in a way that I could never let go.
I had reached rock bottom. It was the first month of my freshmen year of college. My boyfriend and I had recently broken up, I had no friends, and I was still experiencing the culture shock of a new environment. I was more depressed than I had ever been before, so depressed that I turned to only place left that I could think of: God. I opened my Bible to Philippians, and read it, the whole thing. And I read it again. I read Philippians 3:8-9a, “Yes, everything is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.”
And then I wept. I wept for my life, I wept for my pain, I wept for my brokenness. And I wept that it had taken me so long to see that everything I wanted, everything I needed so desperately, everything that I had been looking for my entire life was right in front me. The love I was looking for had already been offered in the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Every Friday at 11 am, I meet with my counselor, Hope, and we talk through my past, my abandonment issues, and my depression. Every day, as I work through what my father did, it hurts a little bit less.
I still struggle every day. Some days are harder than others. But I live my life. I love hard. I talk too loud and I laugh constantly. I embrace the world for all its beauty. I have hope. I have God. I have joy.

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Thanks for reading!

in progress.

Ironically, I’m finding myself in the same exact place I was this time last year: completely unsure of what the next few months will hold.

Over the past semester, my plans for this fall have changed so many times that I can’t even remember most of them. I was going to stay at home and get a job, then I was going to go to Ball State, then I considered going to Africa with YWAM, then I thought about staying at Taylor…bascially, it’s been a long road.

When the semester ended, the possibility of staying at TU was looking quite a bit more promising. I was talking to several different people about finding donors and working with financial aid, and, for the first time in awhile, I was hopeful.  But since school has ended, I haven’t heard a word about it. And it’s July. And school starts in a month and half. And I have no idea where I’m going to be.

Honestly, I’m exhausted. This is the third semester in a row where I find myself genuinely questioning where I’ll be when the semester starts. It’s really hard. And as much as I trust God and truly do believe that He has a plan, I’m stressed out of my mind.  What stresses me out more is that I have no  plan B. If Taylor doesn’t work out, I have no idea where I’ll be instead. And taking a year off isn’t really an option because I can’t afford to pay for my loans yet.

Basically, I’m asking for prayer. Prayer for guidance and patience and strength and wisdom and peace and hope…and anything else you feel like praying for me for, haha.

I greatly appreciate it.

Love you guys (:

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.” 

For Josh.

I didn’t know him well, but I knew him well enough to consider him a friend. I can’t even pinpoint down the moment we met, but I know it happened at some point. We were in the same major. We had several classes together. In one, we sat next to each other and occasionally got yelled at for talking in class.

Everywhere Josh went, the simple joy of his presence followed. He could light up a room just by walking into it. He always had a joke or an insightful comment or word of encouragement or just a smile ready for every person he came in contact with. 

He had the hugest heart. He loved people so much. But more than that, He loved Jesus. In everything Josh did, his love and passion for his Savior overflowed. He was humble, he was kind, he was always willing to pray for and with you.

I keep thinking this whole thing is an awful nightmare, that I’ll return to campus and walk through the media comm department and see his giant, joy-filled smile again. And then I remember it’s not. And the pain of his loss returns like a knife in the gut.

But then I remember something else. Josh loved Jesus more than anything, more than anyone. He gave his entire life to Him. And right now, Josh is sitting at Jesus’ feet, making Him laugh and bringing Him the joy that Josh brought us. Josh is with the One that he lived for with every single breath. And that image brings me peace.

We don’t understand why this has happened. And we don’t get it. And we find ourselves begging God to tell us why. And it hurts. 

But we find comfort in the Holy Spirit, in the Lord’s promises, and in the fact that God is in control. He has a plan. He is not surprised or shocked by any of this, and in our chaos, He is sitting in peace on His throne. He knows exactly what He is doing.

Joshua Larkin will be greatly missed.

Please pray for his family, his friends, his girlfriend, the men of Sammy II and the rest of Samuel Morris Hall, and the Taylor Community as a whole.

Also, I really think we should all gather together as a campus and do the Interlude dance from Airband, just for Josh. He would love that (:

Psalm 30:5b – “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

Image
 

I see Your face in every sunrise; You’re beautiful.

I am not a morning person. Not at all. Unless it’s like 2 in the morning. That I can do. But 7 in the morning? That’s a struggle.

A few nights ago I pulled an all-nighter. Stupid, I know. But I had a tonnn of homework to do, including a photography project for which I needed light, so I decided I was going to do it when the sun was rising. Well, by the time I finished my homework it was almost 4 am, and the sun was supposed to rise around 8. And I know myself well enough to know that if I went to bed, there was NO WAY I was getting up for that sunrise. So I made the logical decision of not going to bed at all. Makes sense, right? RIGHT.

God ended up using my stupidity to teach me a really incredible lesson. He seems to do that a lot, you know.

Starbucks opens at 6, so at 5:30 I took a shower and then headed over there with my Bible and journal in tow. I bought myself a grande White Chocolate Mocha with extra espresso (SOOO GOOOOOOD), found a big chair, and got real comf. And then I started to do devos. I read and prayed and journal-ed, and watched the morning begin through the glass windows. And it was incredible. I felt like I was actually talking to God rather than going through the motions. I could feel Him there with me. I was growing in my intimacy with Him. It was the closest I’ve felt to God in a long time. He was showing me so much of Himself, teaching me things about who He is.

Around 7:45, I finished and left to go take pictures of the sunrise. But God wasn’t finished. God had only just begun. He gave me the gift of one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen. I pulled over next to a field, and got out of my car. The sun was just beginning to show on the horizon, coloring the sky with hints of red and yellow. Fog covered the ground, making the scene absolutely breathtaking. For me, there’s something about nature that makes me so in awe of my Creator, and there’s something about capturing His beauty on camera that amplifies that awe. I was overwhelmed. Despite the fact that I hadn’t slept at all, I felt refreshed. I felt joy. I felt free. I felt loved by my Heavenly Father.

Afterwards, all I could think was, WHY DON’T I DO THIS MORE OFTEN?!

Normally I do my devos at night right before I go to bed, when I’m usually so tired that I speed through them and don’t actually gain anything from what I’m reading or really even talk to God. It’s just another thing that I do. After this, I don’t want to do that anymore.

There are several verses in the Bible that indicate that the morning is the best time to seek out time with God. Jesus seemed to really value doing this. Mark 1:35 says “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” David seemed to think it was the best time to be with God as well. There are several verses throughout the book of Psalms that show that, here are just a couple:
Psalms 5:3 – “Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.”
Psalms 59:16a – “But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love.”
David was called the man after God’s own heart, and Jesus was the Son of God, so I’m PRETTY SURE I trust their judgement.

As much as I dislike waking up early, I will admit that I experienced God in a new, incredible way when I sought Him out in the morning. It was beyond worth it. And by no means is it going to be a daily occurrence, but I’m going to start making more of an effort to occasionally wake up early enough to have some quality time with my Savior.

Cause He’s pretty crazy cool.

Thanks for reading, as always!

Here’s some of the pics I took, btw:

life is hard, but so very beautiful.

Long time, no blog.

That was lame, I know.

Anyways.

Life is throwing me a curve ball. And normally that would freak me out – like REALLY freak me out – but I’m actually really excited about this one. Nervous, but excited.

As you know, I’ve been dealing with some financial stuff over the last (little under a year) year or so, and staying at Taylor has become quite the struggle. And also, as some of you know, this current semester is going to be my last here. Which is definitely a bummer. I am in love with Taylor, and everything about it. I’m going to miss all the amazing friends I’ve made, all the opportunities I’ve had, the countless Taylor traditions, the wonderful “Christian bubble,” the awesome community, chapel, Airband, Silent Night…I could go on forever. But at the same time, I know it’s time. Staying at Taylor is no longer possible, or even logical.

The tentative plan for next year is that I will be attending Ball State, where tuition is about 25% of Taylor’s tuition if I live off-campus, which I plan to do. Also, their Media Communication department is among the best in the nation, and as a Media Writing major, this greatly appeals to me. Also, it’s fairly close to Taylor, really only like a 25 minute drive, meaning that I’ll still be around all the time (:

Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely terrified to make this transfer. ha. I know I’m going to experience some major culture shock, and be thrown into situations that I’m not used to. But I’m pretty sure that I can deal with it. And if I can’t, then God will be strong in my weakness. And despite how scared I am, I’m so incredibly excited. Obviously God has something bigger planned for me than what I could accomplish at Taylor, and that makes me giddy. I can’t wait to see what He has in store because I know it’s going to blow my mind.

There’s still a lot of things I need to figure out, like where and with whom I’ll be living, what exact major I should choose, etc., so if you guys could be praying for me during this time, that would be fantastic. Thanks 😀

Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek His will in all you do,
and He will show you which path to take.”

boy hiatus part 3.

Sometimes God allows things to happen that we don’t at all understand. We just have to trust that He knows far better than we do, and that  His plan for our lives is far greater than any plan we could ever create.

People, I’m fine. I appreciate the texts and messages and such, but please stop. Ha! I don’t want to sound rude, but seriously. I don’t want to talk about it right now, and when I do and want to talk to you, I’ll  seek you out. I know you guys just love me, so I understand. It’s just a bit overwhelming to respond to 20 text messages from people seeing if I’m ok and what happened and whatnot.

Oh, and as you can probably tell from the title, I’m starting up my boy hiatus again, for now. Life is just easier single. Instead I’m going to focus on my relationship with God, and falling more deeply in love with Him. I’m so excited to see where He is going to lead me through all this.

WADDUP, SINGLE LIFE?! hehe 🙂

1 Corinthians 13:7
“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”