October 4, 2017

welcome to your twenties

september 3rd 2017 // welcome to your twentiesseptember 3rd 2017 // welcome to your twenties september 3rd 2017 // welcome to your twenties september 3rd 2017 // welcome to your twentiesseptember 3rd 2017 // welcome to your twenties september 3rd 2017 // welcome to your twenties september 3rd 2017 // welcome to your twentiesseptember 3rd 2017 // welcome to your twenties september 3rd 2017 // welcome to your twenties september 3rd 2017 // welcome to your twentiesseptember 3rd 2017 // welcome to your twenties september 3rd 2017 // welcome to your twenties september 3rd 2017 // welcome to your twentiesseptember 3rd 2017 // welcome to your twenties  
life works in strange ways. one minute, you can be gloriously happy, and then you have three months of so much difficulty you can't see the light at the end. one minute you are fully trusting, and the next, you've lost sight of who you are, and Whose you are.

the other day, when i was mulling over being twenty, i took a little trip back through my past, something i don't ever like to do, and in hindsight, i was shocked to notice that, over the past ten years, the image that i see is mostly dark. really, really, really dark.

people say teenage years are hard, and i'm not gonna disagree. teenage years are hard. you learn so much, you're forced to learn so much, not necessarily by anyone in particular, but society as a whole does this to you, and it's not necessarily bad, but it opens up a lot of opportunity for mistakes and hardships and difficulties and pointless tragedy.

the mental picture i had of this last decade was the shade of a tree. mostly dark, but speckled with small patches of light. and as upset as that made me feel, i realised that within all of that, was so much growth. i cannot remember the girl i was at 11, at 13, at 15, not really even at 17, and not because i don't mentally remember (although i don't remember much, honestly), but because i cannot emotionally connect myself with the person i was. it's like i've done eight 180 degree turns within the past decade, and i've lived that many different lives.

through that, there's been so much that i've learned, but the biggest of these are the following:

trusting the Lord is the only way. the only way. i will truthfully and no longer ashamedly admit that i would never have made it to my 20th (or even my 19th or 18th) birthday without the love and faithfulness of Christ. His presence by my side has been the only thing that has remained constant, even, and especially, when i have not.

in order to truly love others, you have to learn to love yourself. while i am still learning to allow myself to believe that there are people, many people, out there who love me as i am, no strings attached, i have finally found the confidence within myself to love and appreciate the person i am, the whole person i am, not just bits and pieces. yes. i have bad days, yes, i have days where i wish the minutes and the hours would go by faster, but i have many more days which are filled with me being able to love myself in a way that strengthens the love that i have for others, and it has been the most beautiful thing. instead of filling my time focusing on what i don't love about myself, i am able to spend that time focusing on what i love about others, and telling them, and talking to them, and growing, and being a part of community.

not everyone is meant to be in your life for forever, but also you don't just run away from people when you are hurting under the umbrella that 'not everyone is meant to be in your life for forever'. these go so hand in hand, and it's been both so good and so difficult at the same time, but God's timing and placement is so real, and so good, even when it hurts. when you can trust God's plan, you will be able to get through those difficult times with real joy. you will be able to let go of the people that are toxic and hold onto the people who are hurting you, because you know that their presence in your life is still good.

you have to experience things to learn from them and to grow. it can be so scary to put yourself out there, but you can't experience real growth if you don't. beauty comes from pain, growth comes from pain, good things come from pain. you have to be able to trust the process and learn to live within the moments while being able to say, 'not everything is okay, and that's okay'.

ask for forgiveness, take responsibility, don't hold grudges. we mess up. it happens, it's going to happen, but don't cover that up. it will make you bitter, and in a world full of bitterness, it is of far more worth for you to be a radiant light. take responsibility that you messed up, humble yourself, ask for forgiveness, and let go. it's so very refreshing.

loving people is what i am meant to do. earlier this year i did a short bible study about what God's vision for my life is...and having never thought about that, i was pretty intrigued. the first few weeks, i was confused, i had no idea what it could be, but it got me thinking, and by the end of it, i had a solid idea of what that was, and although the aspects of it are very much separate as of now, God has been using the current season i'm in to grow the biggest part of it, that i am called to love people and to show them the light of Christ.

i don't know what the next year holds, i don't know what the next decade holds, but God knows that i am ready for it. ready and excited. it's been a ride so far, and i feel like, yeah, it can get worse, but if God is on my side, and i keep Him in the place where He is meant to be, first and foremost, i can get through the worst of it. He is with me, always, and that's all i need to know.

xo, rn
read my instagram birthday post here.

photo credits:
follow along on my personal instagram, @imrachelnicole

May 10, 2017

of anger + grace

lately lately lately lately lately

it's coming harder and faster and 
more than just occasionally
it hurts, i'm mad, i don't want to be
i hate it; i want it to leave
so i push it away; laugh at myself, and 
in doing so, only push the nail in deeper

anger is something i've never really struggled with hardcore. i'm a pretty sarcastic person, and growing up with eight siblings, you learn to grow a thick skin and to let things roll off your shoulder. that being said, there are still a few things that really get under that thick skin, things that hurt, sting, and then exude anger. i can't deny that it hasn't been happening more often lately, this year has been weird, and full of very unexpected challenges, and with that, i have found anger playing a bigger role in my life.

but i'm not here to tell you that that's all bad, i'm not here to tell you that feeling angry is wrong, or something you should feel badly about, because i don't believe it is. i actually feel the opposite, i believe that, in moderation, anger is good, but it also needs to be followed by grace, for everyone and everything involved within the situation.

i'm an avoider, i avoid conflict at all costs, and if that means repressing my anger, if that means hiding it under the surface and wearing the 'it's all fine' mask, i will do that, and i have been able to see how many negatives there are to avoiding the anger, or pushing it away. you see, feelings need to be felt, especially strong feelings, or feelings that keep reappearing; they are reappearing for a reason, and they aren't going to halt their existence until you work through them. This is why i believe that feeling that anger, and living in it in the moment is good.

feeling things isn't bad, it gets ugly when you take action on those feelings in a negative way. this is why you need to be careful, why it's important to take some time to work through those strong feelings, feel them hard, and then, after you've concluded which faults are yours and which are not, you show grace, to anyone or anything involved, but also to yourself. both sides are very important and you can't grow or move on without either. a lot of times anger comes from things that are only a miscommunication, and you don't or won't see that until you work through the situation or problem, and giving grace is easier when you see that maybe things weren't exactly as they seemed in the heat of the moment.

when it's all said and done, none of us are perfect, but there is some perfection in showing love, even when maybe it's not exactly what you want to be doing, even when you're a bit hurt and stung by what someone may have said or done to you. it's hard, especially when they seem clueless to the fact that they're hurting you in the first place, but working through that and being able to give grace in the form of forgiveness? there's beauty in that.

anger is important, feeling it is more important, working through it is the most important of the three, but giving grace is most important of all.

xx, rn

April 1, 2017

September 3rd 2016

september 3rd 2016 september 3rd 2016 september 3rd 2016 september 3rd 2016september 3rd 2016 september 3rd 2016 september 3rd 2016 september 3rd 2016 september 3rd 2016 september 3rd 2016 september 3rd 2016
i usually do one of these posts every year for my birthday... this one, about a month after my half birthday, is a bit late, but i'm just now getting caught up on a whole ton of stuff anyway, so here goes nothing.

18, wow. this was the year i was going to take everything back, but isn't that just how this stuff always works? every birthday you felt the year before was lacking in that area, so this is the 'new year to take it back', and every time you seem to fail that, because you're human and plans don't ever go how you expect them to, or at least, that's how it has always been for me, and i've always learned the hard way.

18 was stretching to say the least. a lot happened that i didn't want to happen, but amongst the pain and the hurt, there was a lot of growth and a lot of good, and i can't and won't overlook that, and through it, i can say that 18 was a good year, but not a year i would want to relive all over again.

here is an exerpt of the one page journal entry i wrote on my birthday (this is actually the only thing i can find that i wrote on my birthday. i was travelling, but i was also going through a lot, there were a lot of emotions happening, and there was a lot of pushing away and even more prayer, and writing about my everyday life was not something i found easy, and it wasn't something that i really wanted to do during that time):

"my life is truly beginning, and God is the reason for why my life turned around. He is so faithful."
xo, rn

January 1, 2017

happy 2017

happy 2017

not really sure how it's 2017, but last night i found myself surrounded by some incredible people and getting more and more overwhelmed as the seconds on the countdown clock wore down. i was struck with how much i've changed, with the person i've become, and the massive amount of growth i see in myself.

2016 was not an easy year, and it's not the year i thought it would be. i started out with a much different vision, and it completely fell apart, but amidst that brokenness, i found both good and bad in myself, i found both healthy and unhealthy ways that i was living, and it all hit hard. i pushed it off for most of the year because everything was just too painful to attempt to deal with.

feeling the weight of how un-useful this year seemed to be was discouraging, but then i remembered the following,

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 a time to love and a time to hate,
 a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

this reminded me that, though it feels like i got nothing done, this was not a wasted year because i have learned so much, i have felt so much, and i have come so very far. without the experiences i had and the pain i was constantly trying to handle, i would not be where i am, and i can truly say that i am happy with the life i am living. i may have spent a whole year learning to love myself, but the fact remains, that i do love the life i am living, and the person i have become, and that seems pretty worth it to me.

i haven't had much time to really sit down and reflect, and it's something i always like to do, so i don't have many thoughts on that as of now. however, i do know that i am going into 2017 with a few goals and a completely different attitude on my life. i have learned that what you think your life will look like, is actually pretty dang inaccurate, you don't really have much control over what the future holds, but the awesome thing i learned this year is trust. this was such a year of trusting God, and through that, i found that everything is so much better.

so this year i have a few goals in mind and a blank slate. i don't know what it holds, and i don't need to know. i am going to work on those unhealthy ways i have been living, i am going to work on the bad that i found in myself. i know it won't be easy, but that's okay. challenges are so good for you. life goes on, despite everything, and its really best to just take one day at a time.
xo, rn