In August last year, I attended the pilgrimage with my church, Jacob’s Well.  It was a time and place set aside for us to seek the Lord, both individually and corporately.  In the month leading up to it, I was so excited to go.  I even postponed my Korea trip so that I could attend.  Then, a few days before, I started dreading it.  I absolutely didn’t want to go.  I guess I knew I had some things that needed to be dealt with, even though I didn’t know what they were, and I knew it would be hard.  And I was right.  At the end, during the closing service, I stood up and shared, through tears, what the Lord was doing.  For a long time, I had been “maintaining” the tower that I’d built called my life.  I had been filling in cracks that showed up, pulling up weeds, putting things back where I thought they belonged when they fell…  And I realized that weekend that the Lord was calling me to step away from the tower and into His arms where we would watch the tower that I had built with my own hands crumble into the pile of rubble that it should be.  And we would then start again, only this time, He would be the builder.  At that point, all I could do was stand in His arms, look at the destruction, and cry. 

Then I left for Korea.  Then I came home and had a bunch of photography things to take care of.  Then I started teaching.  Then my cousin died.  Then I enrolled in masters classes.  Then D-Now season with No Longer Quiet started again.  And then came March 10th

I spent the weekend in Jefferson City at a D-Now, leading an amazing group of 10th grade girls.  The theme was “Gimme God” and we talked about what it means to stop trying to run from God and what it looks like to trust Him.  Saturday night, I gave my testimony of the last few months and the things I’ve been going through with Abbie’s death.  I talked about how after her accident, I wanted nothing more than to flip God the bird and tell Him that I wasn’t interested anymore, but how He was so patient, so faithful.  I read Psalm 73:26- My heart and my flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.  And I told them the truth- we will fail, but God will be our strength.  I shared my story because someone there really needed to hear it.  And again, I shared through tears.  Only this time, the tears didn’t stop.

After the service, I sat and talked with Melissa and Chris, and fought.  I fought the tears.  I fought the exhaustion.  I fought the emotions that were desperate to be released.  I fought allowing myself to feel what I’ve needed to feel for 7 months.  I kept saying, “I don’t want to do this!” 

Then I quit fighting.  I let the things that I didn’t even realize were inside out.  I finally gave up, and I realized that for 7 months, I’ve been standing among the rubble with the pieces still in my hands, scared to walk away.  When Melissa asked me what I felt like God was asking me to move towards, I realized that I didn’t know, which is why it seemed easier to just stay where I was, holding onto what no longer existed, but what I had known for so long to be.  Turns out it’s not easier after all.

Now it’s time for the journey to begin to a new land with a new Builder.  I still don’t know where we’re going, and I still don’t know what He’ll build, but I know that now, at least I can turn away from the pieces and begin to walk.  It may be a slow journey in the beginning, but my traveling partner has all the patience in the world… 

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AN OPEN LETTER TO
MR. JAMES THATCHER,
BRAND MANAGER,
PROCTER & GAMBLE.
– – – –
Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your Always maxi pads for over 20 years, and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core(tm) or Dri-Weave(tm) absorbency, I’d probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I’d certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can’t tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there’s a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from “the curse”? I’m guessing you haven’t. Well, my “time of the month” is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I’ll be transformed into what my husband likes to call “an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.” Isn’t the human body amazing?

As brand manager in the feminine-hygiene division, you’ve no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers’ monthly visits from Aunt Flo. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it’s a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend’s testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey’s Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy! The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants.

Which brings me to the reason for my letter.

Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: “Have a Happy Period.”

Are you f **king kidding me?

What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness-actual smiling, laughing happiness-is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you’re some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything “happy” about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlúa and lock yourself in your house just so you don’t march down to the local Walgreens armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory. For the love of God, pull your head out, man. If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad wouldn’t it make more sense to say something that’s actually pertinent, like “Put Down the Hammer” or “Vehicular Manslaughter Is Wrong”? Or are you just picking on us?

Sir, please inform your accounting department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flexi-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bull s** t. And that’s a promise I will keep. Always.

Best,
Wendi Aarons
Austin, TX

Dear Wendi,

Thank you for saying what women everywhere are thinking. You’re my new hero.

Sincerely,

Jessi

I fear that I have failed my readers. I, in fact, have not been blogalicious. What is blogalicious, you might ask? Well, blogalicious def, blogalicious def, blogalicious def,  blogalicious, definition- make them readers go loco. They want my treasures, so they get their pleasures from looking at my blog-o…

Whoa.  Something tells me I just took a turn for the horrible.

Allow me to ‘splain my absence.  I have no life.  I wake up way too frickin’ early.  Then I go to school and teach.  Then I leave school to go to school and get taught.  Then I go home.  Then I eat dinner, I make lunch, I wash my face, I go to bed.  Repeat cycle until I want to rip my own arm off so that I’ll have an excuse to be stationary for more than 5 minutes.  Drastic measures?  Yes.  But if spring break weren’t in two weeks, it might be necessary here soon.  I can say with confidence that in the fall semester, I will not be enrolling in 9 hours at UMKC.  I will take my 6 hours, and I will enjoy rediscovering what life is.  Besides, that’d be WAAAAAY too much in combination with my first year of teaching.  That’s right- there’s about a 99.99% chance that I will have full time employment in August.  CRAZY!!!!  I was telling a friend of mine that I’ve now been unsecurely employed longer than I was securely employed.  I’m pretty sure that secure employment for me is going to cause some sort of black hole to rip open in the universe, so be prepared, people.  I don’t think it’s going to cause the earth to explode, but we might experience a world-wide blackout.  Make sure your flashlights have batteries.

Today is my mama’s birthday.  Happy birthday, mama.  She’s really young now.  Today is also my beautiful fantastic cousin Sarah’s birthday.  She’s really old now.  16.  And she’s going to get her license tomorrow.  Scary.   I told her to make sure she goes at least 10 MPH over the speed limit during her test because they really liked that.  I’m hoping she doesn’t take me serious.  Tomorrow is Abbie’s birthday…  she would have been 18.  I still can’t really believe she’s gone.  I remember being at the hospital the day she was born, angry at the baby down the hall who wouldn’t stop screaming because I couldn’t hear my cousin.  Turns out it was her.  I held her when she was like an hour old.  18 years ago.  And now….  something tells me tomorrow will not be an easy day.  Just when you think you’re done with the tears…

I didn’t grade the college prep quizzes I was supposed to this weekend.  And I don’t care.  At all.  When they whine at me tomorrow, I’m going to tell them that they’ll get their quizzes when I’m good and ready to give them back.  And if they’ve got a problem with it, I’m going to send them to the office.  Actually, that’s probably not how it’s going to go at all, but wouldn’t that be cool?  I so have absolute power.

Can anyone tell why I haven’t been blogging lately?…  Hope you enjoyed a completely random conglomoration of thoughts.

Some may say that Christmas is the best season of all. To those people, I say fie on you.

Welcome to my most favoritist season ever! Today is Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent. I love the Lenten season. Every year, the Lord does something way cool in my life through this season. There’s something about the denial of self, the acknowledgement of sacrifice, the preparation of what’s to come that’s just… terrible and beautiful all at the same time. There’s something about setting your eyes on the cross and its implications in your life that brings about revelations that can’t and won’t occur otherwise. So, welcome, my friends to the most wonderful time of the year. I pray that you will be able to experience the terrible beauty of this time, and that the Lord will reveal new and amazing things in your life throughout the season of Lent.

To all my single ladies, I have the solution. For those of you who think “something must be wrong with me!” or “if I could only lose that 5 pounds!” or “it must be my plastic unicorn collection!” it’s time to learn the error of our ways! How, you ask? By together asking ourselves the question…

if-men.jpg

Why didn’t I think of that? It must just be about being able to “catch” the right one!!!! I can’t believe I’ve been approaching this all wrong the entire time! From now on, you’ll find me at the bus station. Waiting to catch my man. Since that is my role and all. And because men are like buses, right?…

(*this is an actual book offered by the local Christian bookstore in the “single living” section… anyone notice the other titles around it? getting serious about getting married… what to do until love finds you… how to avoid the 10 mistakes single women make… sassy, single, and satisfied… single and loving it!… if anyone asks why Christian women tend to struggle with being satisfied in singleness, i’m pointing them to the single living section where singleness is made to look like a disease that needs to be cured or something that we have to work our way out of. and then i’m going to go read something that tells me about my selfworth. like the Bible. not sassy, single, and satisfied. i hate you, single living section.)

*EDIT- In case you’re curious, I wasn’t actually looking for a book in the single living section.  I was pointing out the ridiculous book titles to my mom.  Not parusing the shelves.  Just making fun of them.  I promise.  You can ask my mom…

today’s a half day

i only have each class for 11 minutes

why are we even having class

oh well still a half day

iiiiiiiiiiii want to cut my hair off…

Welcome to the land of the overwhelmed.  In the land of the overwhelmed, people fill their plates with much more than they can handle, and they bite off more than they can chew.  Living in the land of the overwhelmed leads to many “enjoyable” experiences… 

For example, one barely has time to do what one really enjoys doing, like talking with friends, blogging, working out, spending time with family, having a general social life, having a general any kind of life, and instead is allowed to revel in the exciting world of work, school, homework and responsibility.  One doesn’t know how to fit into one 24 hour period all that “needs” to be done and still sleep, so nothing gets done the way it should and sleep is found to be an elusive concept.

But what of the times when the person feels the effects of this land?  That’s when emotional breakdown occurs because of words said in a cross manner, or assignments that aren’t understood, or a student that smarts off, or boy that calls an hour later than when girl thought he would which must mean he’s completely uninterested because that’s the only “logical” conclusion, or emotions that resurface from the still-occuring grieving process.  That’s also when one realizes that priorities need to be re-prioritized, because things are all discombobulated, but one doesn’t know how to go about the process…

Who wants to join me?  Anyone?…  anyone?  I didn’t think so. 

Can anyone get ME out?…