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Lifestyle

Tiny Girlfriend’s Birth Story

June 9, 2019

From the moment I got a positive pregnancy test, I began to dream about what my child’s Birth Experience would be like. I began reading everything I could get my hands on- with the clear goal of having an unmedicated birth.

I sat on an exercise ball every day, for as long as possible. If I wasn’t on an exercise ball, I was sitting tailor style on the floor- only the best posture and keeping the pelvis open for me.

I walked 2-5 miles a day. I ate as well as I could through the morning sickness and when I finally started meds I made sure I had a really balanced diet. I drank 120 oz of water a day. I did pelvic tilts. You name it- if it was going to help prepare my body for birth, I was going to do it.

I had a low risk, healthy and normal pregnancy. I was young. I was in shape. I had the mental stamina to take this on head first and do this. I was ready to run the marathon that is giving birth to a baby. I had even talked to my doctor about not inducing until I was at 42 weeks as long as everything was healthy so that my body could be fully ready to do this thing (who wants to go to 42 weeks these days?! =p).

Then at 38 weeks my blood pressure was slightly elevated. There was no red flag thrown yet, but now, we were going to keep watching it and see what happened.

39 weeks rolls around. “Are you having contractions? Were you running late to your appointment?” The answer was no to both of these things, and my blood pressure was still elevated. Our watch continued. We scheduled a non stress test (where they hook you up to a monitor and watch baby’s heart rate, movements, and any contractions you’re having) and an ultrasound to check her amniotic fluid levels.

It was at this point that the word induction was mentioned, and I started to get concerned. This was not a part of my plan!! I had worked so hard to be healthy and avoid this. I went home and for a week did everything possible to try to induce labor on my own. I ate four whole pineapples. I walked all day. I did squats and lunges, I broke out my breast pump, I hand expressed- if it was going to kick start labor without destroying my bowels I was game to try it.

40 weeks. Same questions. Same response. Tiny Girlfriend was happy on the inside, moving just the way she was supposed to, and her amniotic fluid was totally perfect. In my head, this was great news! I was going to be able to push it for another week, with more monitoring, and keep trying to get my body ready for labor.

But the doctor looked at me and said: “I can’t make the call. With this pressure, we should send you to L&D for further monitoring and then the on call doc will make the call.”

I knew from my appointment just two days prior that the doctor I had been seeing every appointment since 12 weeks was the on-call doc that night. We headed to the hospital and I was still thinking I could go home and just come in for monitoring more frequently.

I was in good spirits- after all, Gene had never been an alarmist with me. He had been nothing but supportive of my goal for an unmedicated birth and had agreed that if nothing was wrong, we could keep waiting. He had even said if there was no imminent risk we could delay induction by a few hours so I could walk at my graduation ceremony. I still felt calm, cool, collected and in control. I was smiling and laughing with the nurses, drinking my water and watching the erratic contractions that I wasn’t feeling, taking these all as good signs that I would be headed home soon.

I then asked Nancy, the first of many incredible people who were on my team, some important questions.

If you induce me can I be up and walking around? The answer: no. If we put medicine in your body, we have to know the baby is okay. But I knew the hospital had one telemetry unit that was waterproof, so I hadn’t begun to panic yet.

Will you be able to get me the wireless monitoring system so I can walk and use the tub? I am trying for an unmedicated birth and these are things that really ease my discomfort. The answer: our one unit has been out for repair. Me: could you please see if it has come back yet?

Now I was starting to worry. My birth preferences were going south very quickly here. A very dear friend of mine recommended a book to me that I gobbled up in just one day. It is called Birth Without Fear by January Harshe. In it, Mama J emphasizes the importance of having Options, Support, and Respect. This became our mantra and rallying cry in the last few weeks of our pregnancy, and rather than having a meltdown, I began to repeat these three words to myself knowing that we could handle this new set of challenges.

They moved us out of triage and over to the room where I would give birth to my daughter. I was still a little bit in denial because Gene hadn’t told me I was for sure admitted, and Sean, my mom and I waited for the final verdict.

Bracelets were printed. Forms were signed. And Gene apologized that I was going to have to miss my graduation. I told him that I trusted him, and agreed that the safe arrival of my daughter was a far greater good, but I was going to eat this dang cheeseburger before they admitted me =p. He happily agreed and we were on our way.

As mentioned earlier, my body was not at all ready to have a baby. So the first part of my induction process was what is called cervical ripening. My nurse for the evening, Cyndi was just lights out, explaining what was going to happen and having a great sense of humor to help me be less stressed. Nancy gave me a tempur pedic mattress topper, and everyone was just being so kind. I had a brave face on, and was trying to remain positive, but I was a little bit scared. This is not the natural way to do this. I truly felt that my body just needed a few more days and would have done this on its own, but now I felt I was somewhat backed into a corner because my blood pressure made it unsafe to continue to carry my little one.

Options. Support. Respect.

We started with the first dose of misoprostol and then settled in for a long wait. Every four hours, I could receive another dose, and the hope was that this would kind of kick start the process. I slept through the first dose, and we saw no changes. I was told this was normal, and that this would be a slow process. They gave me the second dose and I began to sweat profusely. I was wide awake, watching Guy Fieri and thanking God that my mom needs a fan to sleep with at night and had brought two because I felt like I was just going to melt into a puddle of sweat. We lowered the thermostat dramatically to get that room cold, and I tried to get some more sleep. By 4:00, we had seen no change in my cervix, but my body realized something was supposed to be happening and I was having more regular contractions. This was a problem for this part of the induction process because they couldn’t administer the next dose if I was contracting, so I had to be pumped full of fluids to slow down my irritated uterus.

By 6:15 I was only 30% effaced and was beginning to feel really dejected and bitter about the whole situation. I knew that blood pressure was nothing to mess around with, but I also knew my body clearly was not ready to have a baby. My mom had stepped out of the room, and I was crying to Sean, telling him how much it sucked and how unfair this was- I had worked so hard for my whole pregnancy to not be in this situation, and in a cruel twist of fate, here we were. Thankfully he knew that in that moment I needed him to just hold space for my feelings, and he agreed that this really did suck. He redirected my attention to the poster he had made me with Mama J’s mantra: Options, Support, Respect and we set about finding ways to gain back the empowering birthing experience we had envisioned for our daughter.

Taking a line right out of Birth Without Fear, Sean looked me in the eyes and said: it’s about to be our daughter’s birthday we can choose to be happy instead of feeling like everything has gone to shit. And with that, we recommitted to celebrating every step of this journey.

At 8:00, Sean and my mom helped me out of bed and got me set up on my beloved exercise ball. I figured- this got her into the right position, maybe the forces of gravity would be on my side. We watched Billions, and I pretended that the Lemon Ice was enough sustenance to make it a few more hours.

By 10:00 I was begging for just a few minutes off the monitor, and for some food. Dr. Goldstien took pity on me and allowed me to eat breakfast and take a shower. I ate as much as I could, and that shower was just heavenly. My nurse, Kimberley even let me walk a couple of laps- which was how I had always envisioned my labor going. It was nice for even a few minutes to have what I had hoped for.

At 1:00 we checked again and had not had any progress. Once again I felt super dejected and cried a little bit more. I was beginning to get concerned that they were going to put me on some kind of clock and make me have a c section if I didn’t have the baby by the deadline. I asked multiple people, and they assured me that would only be if something went wrong on the baby’s end, but that she was tolerating everything really well, and was behaving perfectly.

At this point, I had missed my graduation and still didn’t have a baby. I was miffed but kept reminding myself that I got to choose the way this day was going to go. My sister brought me some magazines, and some snacks for when I’d be allowed to eat, and my dad came to say hi. He surprised me with my diploma, and even was able to bring his Trustees robes to the hospital! My husband, and family, as well as the amazing day time team, hosted a graduation ceremony just for me, and my dad got to present me my diploma after all. It wasn’t on the big stage as I had planned, but it is a moment I will cherish forever- and is even better than waiting for hours with everyone else.

At 4:30 I was 50% effaced and was approaching my last dose of misoprostol. The hope was that this would ready my body enough to try a gentler form of induction than just hitting me with Pitocin. I settled in for my last 4-hour stretch.

I’m sure you can guess where this went. when we had our final exam, I had made no progress, and it was decided we would be moving forward with the Pitocin. My night nurse, Allison asked if I could eat and shower, and once again, Dr, Goldstein took pity on me. I had not slept in 30 hours. I was about to perform the greatest athletic feat of my life. I was nervous but excited because even though I had heard horror stories about Pitocin, I was going to work through this pain and on the other end was going to be my sweet baby girl. I ate a cheeseburger, took another shower, and braced myself. When I got up to pee, I had what seemed to be my bloody show, and then they started the pitocin.

From 12:00 AM- 2:00 AM the contractions were manageable with the exercise ball and leaning over the bed. Then, my water broke, and they upped my dose. Allison quickly attached my penicillin to my IV, and I began a deep journey into myself. It was as if something just clicked: I was the only person that could get this baby out, so now was my time.

We called our doula, and found out that Angel was going to be a part of our support team. We were over the moon- we had met her on our hospital tour and had been hoping beyond hopes she would be on call the night we gave birth. She arrived and I was still vertical. On the ball then leaning over the bed and swaying, ebbing and flowing through the contractions. Angel helped me to try some other positions to help ease the contractions, but my legs were so tired I couldn’t really stand any longer.

Angel helped me to get the bed into a seated position and propped me up with pillows. I felt like I had been hit by a mac truck. she was helping me through each contraction, and I was sleeping between them. With tears in my eyes, I looked at Angel and told her I needed to get out of my own way, and get the epidural. I told her that after 38 hours with no sleep, and only a few minutes between contractions to sleep, I was going to have to choose between the unmedicated labor I had worked so hard for, or not having the stamina to actually push the baby out. We decided to ask for an internal exam to see how much I had progressed- and make a final decision.

I was at 4cm. I was so proud of myself for getting that far, but knew it could be hours before getting to 10cm, and looked at my support team, pulled a Dean Winchester, and got out of my own way. Around 4:15 am I got an epidural and I passed out once it went into effect.

By 6:30 am Dr. Goldstein came in to check on my progress. He apologized for waking me up, but what a victory it was when he told me I was dilated to 9.5 cm! The room was charged with entirely new energy, and I knew I was going to be able to bring this baby into the world confidently.

My epidural had begun to wear off slightly, and I was really feeling the contractions in my right hip. I hit the button, and Angel massaged my feet and legs. I slept for two more hours, really allowing my body to labor down. When I woke up, I could feel my legs and the contractions on a mild level but was not feeling any pelvic pressure. This was a dream epidural, and I could not have been any luckier for a plan that was not my original one. Angel explained to me how we were going to push, and we started to get more excited to meet our little girl.

Gene came back and told me we were going to do some practice pushes to see how things were going. At this point, I was not doing no practice pushes. Momma was ready to have this baby after 46 hours of waiting and throwing my entire birth plan out the window.

Gene explained to me again how we were going to push- hold my legs, chin to chest, deep breath and hold it for 10 seconds, three times per contraction. Back into that deep personal space I went, acknowledging I was the only one who could bring this baby into the world, and the doctors realized we would not be practicing. We were having a baby!

Everyone was so good to me. At this point, we got the birth plan back on track as much as we could. Angel had brought a mirror for me, and Gene even let me feel her head (something I hadn’t thought to ask to do!). Everyone was so excited, cheering me on, telling me how great I was doing Between pushes I was sucking in oxygen to try to regain my strength, and everyone was talking about Game of Thrones.

Before I knew it, I was on my very last push, my eyes closed tight giving it my all and Gene says: look down, look down she’s here! He scooped her up and put her immediately on my chest. Her cry was the most amazing thing I have ever heard. I looked into her eyes and said We did it, girlfriend! You’re here! Welcome to the world! Nothing could possibly have interfered with that moment. Sean cut the cord, and they delivered my placenta before I even knew what was happening. I recall Gene telling me that I had sustained a mild tear and he was going to fix me up, but I could honestly have cared less at that point. I had done it! She was here!

I kept her on my chest for over an hour, talking to her, singing to her and just looking at this perfect little being that I had just brought into the world. Nancy was our daughter’s nurse, and was so good to me- she asked if they could do her stats, and I was like no- not right now, I’d like to keep her here a little longer if I could. And she happily obliged.

I cannot say enough good things about Danbury Hospital and the team that helped me bring my daughter into the world. Words will never be enough.

I have never felt more powerful in my life than in those moments working to bring her into the world and I am so excited for all of the incredible things this little girl is going to teach me about myself, her point of view, and the world in general.

Lifestyle

Smash The Snow Globe

March 4, 2019

Honestly, not even gonna lie to you- the Monday following a retreat is actually the worst kind of day you will every encounter. As a kid, it usually means you didn’t shower for a whole weekend and ate too many Doritos and now have to go sit in a desk all day and listen to your teachers talk about The Battle of the Bulge. #TooReal am I right?

But the Monday after a retreat as an adult is a whole different ball game. Your back probably hurts from sleeping over on an ice cold gym floor, your stomach is probably all messed up from aforementioned Doritos and you find yourself trying to keep your eyes open as you stare at a computer screen all day responding to whatever crisis hits that day.

I’ll take it even a step further and tell you that after hosting a weekend 30 weeks pregnant I feel like I may have been hit by a truck. My feet are sore. My body is physically exhausted. My stomach is all jacked up from tater tots and tacos.

But I wouldn’t trade it. There is something immensely beautiful about interacting with people who are seeking something more.

More often then not, we live in our own small universes, that in my mind equate to snow globes. We all have our own scenes, and we all like to see the glitter fall down in front of us and everything is cozy and pretty in our own little scenes.

But there comes a point in our existence, where these isolated little worlds (as pretty and comfortable as they are), cease to be enough. We realize there is more to life because when the glitter settles, we can see that there is something beyond the curved glass. There is something there that would be better than what we have here.

With immense courage, we find the strength to knock over our snow globes in the hope that our world’s will be opened just a little bit bigger.

But sometimes, what we don’t anticipate is just how big the world around us is. After we have lost the comfort of our own universe, the real world can be a little bit scary. Our opinions are challenged, and our lives can be completely turned upside down in a matter of seconds.

It takes a deep and profound courage to press forward anyways. To move out of our comfort zones and look to make ourselves better people.

Every time I attend a retreat weekend, I find myself meeting people from all different walks of life who are trying to do just this thing. And as exhausted as I am from this weekend, I am also so very grateful to have found more people striving to live a more real and more authentic life.

This journey is not easy, but it is far better when you don’t have to go it alone.

And if this weekend reminded me of anything (aside from the fact that… you know I’m pregnant and probably shouldn’t be on my feet for 12 hours in a day) its that you are never alone on this journey.

Be brave. Smash your snow globe. Things are infinitely better on this side of the glass.

The world is a big and beautiful place, just waiting for you to make your mark.

Dear Twenty-Something

That’s What This Storm’s All About

November 2, 2018

2 November 2018

Dear Twenty- Something,

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”- Haruki Murakami

Do you remember yourself in middle school? There were braces, bangs, and glasses and oh so much Limited Too and Abercombie. You barely had friends, participated in a hobby that no one else liked, and couldn’t really play sports because you were so awkward and gangly and had no control of your body. Remember when you thought that if you could just have the right clothes, or that iPod mini, or a Facebook account things would be better?

Do you remember yourself in high school? There were still braces, but you painstakingly grew out your bangs. You stopped shopping at Limited Too and switched to Hot Topic, Zumiez and Pac Sun (which was an emo kid store at the time, promise).You finally had a couple friends- and you all awkwardly sat at the table near the trash can in the front of the cafeteria, and stayed long hours practicing for the musical. You weren’t what anyone would call popular, and you still wondered- if you could have been an athlete would life have been better? If you could have been friends with the popular group, would you have been happier?

Do you remember yourself in college? You slowly started to shed your tough kid style and look a little more like an adult. You made friends. You lost friends. You picked a major that would pretty much set your course for life. You lived in another country. You dated and broke up. You thought if you could get a job and move to a big city and make a name for yourself your life would be better. If you had a legacy and changed the world everything would be great. You just knew you were made for more.

What if you could go back in time and tell yourself that it does get better? That Facebook wasn’t really the most important thing after all, and that in the end, having different clothes really doesn’t make your life all that much better? That having a few good friends is far more important than having a great multitude of friends, and that being popular really isn’t going to be the summit of your life. That finding the dream job and moving to the big city actually isn’t the answer to your dreams.

What if you could go back in time and tell yourself that even though none of the things you planned for and thought would make your life better happened, that your life would be the best its ever been and you just had to wait for it because it actually DOES get better if you just let things happen the way they are supposed to happen instead of trying to force your plans on your life.

I would so tell my awkward self that it gets better if I could. Because it does. And you know what? I bet in 4 years when I hit 30 I will look back and tell myself that it gets even better. Because if my current life is any indication, it can only go up from here!

Whatever stage you are in- keep at it. It totally does get better. In fact, before you know it, you will be living your best life. And that is an awesome place to be.

-S

Dear Twenty-Something

A Built in Season of Change

September 28, 2018

29 September 2018

Dear Twenty-Something,

“He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

I want you to stop, for just a moment. Stop to breathe in the crisp, chilly air that so rapidly descended upon you.

As the days grow shorter, and the leaves begin to change, take a second to embrace all of the ways your life is changing in this season.

Go back to the things that make you happy. I know your time is precious and you feel like you have to schedule every hour of your day to make sure you get everything done, but make time for those things anyways. It is worth it. YOU are worth it.

Take at least one day a week to move a little slower. Don’t think of the 100 things you have to get done. Choose three things, and complete these tasks deliberately.

Get out the Halloween decorations. I know you haven’t seen them in a while, and it seems like a silly thing to do on a Friday evening, but do it. Your soul will thank you for the small addition of beauty to your routine.

Light the candle. Make the soup. Wear the slippers. Drink the hot cocoa. Embrace every stereotype even if it makes you #basic.

How lucky are we, that a season that revolves around change comes built into the calendar year. If the world around you can embrace these lovely moments, then you, sweet friend, can too.

Adventure awaits in this season of changes if only you are brave enough to look for it.

-S

PS- go get your flu shot. It takes two seconds and is probably worth it.

Lifestyle

You’re The Only One Who Can Be You

July 24, 2018

In the past three weeks, there has been a dramatic shift in my perspective. My incredibly stressful class is over, I went on vacation for two weeks, I was invited to read and study with a Lay Marianist community, and I developed a deep love for Mr. Rogers.

These four things have changed me in a profound way. But the thing that has had the biggest impact on me, is my newfound love of Fred Rogers.

In a world where we see so much hate, destruction, and death, this calm and gentle soul ushered generations of kids into a safe space, where they knew they were loved and cherished, and they were able to just be kids.

Going back to watch his work as an adult at first seemed silly. Why would I do such a thing? There were plenty of other shows that I could watch.

It all started in May. I had been suffering a wicked bout of insomnia for four months at this point, and I had watched 17 seasons of Law & Order SVU, and every episode of The Great British Bake-off that Netflix had to offer. At this point I knew I needed something different, but I also knew none of my shows (looking at you Eric Kripke, and Shonda) would be back until the fall. I was running on empty. Getting 4 hours of sleep a night because my mind was racing at the prospect of not getting a perfect grade after all of my hard work… or editing papers that just came in so late I had to stay up all night to get it done. How could I possibly find a show that would help me to get even just one more hour of sleep?

I started scrolling through Amazon Prime and saw that kind and familiar face that I had seen as a kid. I chuckled to myself and kept scrolling, but something told me to go back.

I hit play, and those familiar first notes trickled through the speaker… “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood…”. The first night I watched 5 hours of Mr. Rogers and let me tell you what- that dude tackled some real issues in his day. I sat in bed, in awe of his courage and amazed that he could do that all with a slow melodic voice. And don’t even get me started on the puppets- how does one person have that many voices stored up in their imagination?

As the days went on, I slowly made it through fewer episodes- that sweet melody lulling me to sleep, or Fred Rogers’ intelligent and kind voice helping me to face some big scary things that we see in the news even still today (who knew he would be so timeless?). This man gave me back my sanity. I started sleeping 5, 6, and 7 hours a night, worrying less, and making better use of my time.

I got an A in both of those really crazy classes. My hard work paid off, and I then got to go on vacation with my family to celebrate my parent’s 30th anniversary. I downloaded a book on my kindle about Mr. Rogers, and set off to learn more about this person that had already changed my life by helping me to sleep a little easier at night.

I recently turned 26. Roughly 3 days before that happened, I woke up at complete peace in my life. I had established a routine that I was following (morning meditation and scripture, carefully planning my weeks, adding in chores and getting dressed up in the mornings). I was swearing less (not completely… yet, but I’m hopeful lol). I was being far less judgmental. And I finally felt like I had nothing left to prove. I was the most alive I had been in years.

As I reflected on this series of events I realized that for the first time in my life, I have had a deep and profound conversion. Through the gentle care of a television neighbor, I have come to see that God is in the slow moments. He doesn’t want me to rush. He doesn’t want me to be stressed or in emotional pain.

I decided I was going to be like Mr. Rogers, and my life changed dramatically, for the better. My time seems to stretch endlessly, and my days are filled with joy and gratitude. My errands don’t take nearly as long, I forget things a lot less frequently these days, and I am completely at peace.

6 months ago, I would have told you I didn’t even remember what peace was. Today, I can’t remember what it was like to live in a complete world of stress. It is so crazy to me that I would let my need to prove I was the best, I was worthy and I was what they wanted after all, slowly kill my joy.

I was worthy all along. I have gifts and talents that no one else on this earth possesses in the exact measure that I have them. Sure- they aren’t great big magical things, but they are my talents. I taught a one year old how to say cock-a-doodle-doo. I also taught him that if he throws hummus on the ground, we have to clean it up. I lead music for a holy hour that sent chills down my spine as the students I was playing for sang the bridge to the song by themselves. I wrote a thank you note that established what will be a life long connection.

These things are all seemingly small. But in my life- these are ways that I met God in my day to day interactions.

And I never want to stop. I want to take each day as Mr. Rogers would have taken it- with grace and patience, stopping to recognize that sometimes the small things are what make us the best people we can be.

If you had the opportunity to live a life with less stress and more joy would you?

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood of joy and peace. I’ve always wanted a neighbor just like you! Let’s make the most of this beautiful day, since you’re still here reading this, I might as well say- won’t you be my neighbor?

Encounter

Your Life is a Gift

June 6, 2018

“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” – Mr. Rogers

We live in a world that is in turmoil.

It seems like every day, we hear of someone else that we looked up to succumbing to addiction, peer pressure and darkness.

The news is full of unspeakable horrors that happen so frequently they seem common place.

Yet we live in a time where Mental Illness is still stigmatized, and often times, it causes feelings of great shame to ask for help.

Last year, I was involved in youth ministry when 13 Reasons Why was released. Having read the book a decade earlier as a high school freshman myself,  I was surprised to see the book brought to the “big” screen. I plugged through the 13 heart wrenching episodes so that the people I was working with would have someone to discuss the show, their feelings, and their life with.

I thought the story was complete, and as gruesome as it was, I felt it provided many talking points, and a common starting ground to open the door to those really difficult conversations.

But then 13 Reasons Why Season 2 came out. I debated whether or not I would watch this most reason season. People were saying it was even darker than the first season, and that it was difficult to watch.

Let me go ahead and confirm that:  it is difficult to watch. If you haven’t already watched it, and are planning to watch it, this is me encouraging you to watch it in a safe environment, with your parents, an older sibling, or someone you love and trust.

Mental Illness shows no bias. It can affect anyone. In fact, it most likely affects someone you know and love.

It may even be affecting you. 

In a time when the world seems dark, we need more people like you in it. We need the gifts and talents that you alone give to this world.

You are important.

You are loved.

You are Irreplaceable.

Your life is a gift. You may never know how many people you have affected with just your smile, but you, sweet friend, are a gift.

If you are having a hard time remembering this fact, please, don’t go it alone. Find someone to talk to. Talk to a priest, minister, therapist or counselor.

You are never alone. 

There is always someone in your corner.

I am always rooting for you.

 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

1-800-273-8255

Encounter

Reaching Out For Our Goal

April 26, 2018

“The existence of a person who believes must be bonded as one with the object of his faith, for man is only himself when is convinced, enlightened, and reaching out for his goal.” – ( Giussani, Why The Church pg. 197)

Last week we talked about the freedom that comes in being made to be one with Him;  a striking idea that I don’t often sit with.

This week, as I read this line in particular, I am captivated by the truth that my existence is utterly entwined with the full pursuit of reality.

I have a lot of opportunities to think and drive at this current phase of my life.

And I keep having this recurring scene play out in my mind each time I drive.

Right now, God has closed quite a few doors in my life. Honestly, it sometimes feels like I am never going to catch my break and that He is just going to keep slamming doors in my face.

But as I have started to think about who I am, and what I want, I am starting to gain a much clearer picture of what my end goals are, and how I can possibly get there.

In this scene, I am standing in a dark hallway and just as I am about to start jiggling the handle on the door in front of me, one on the opposite side of the hall creaks open just enough to let a sliver of light out and make me wonder what is behind that door.

Now, I have two options. I can keep trying to open the door in front of me (even though it is clearly locked and is not where I am supposed to be going) or I can head towards the one that is open and kick it down Dean Winchester going in for a vampire style.

Clearly the Dean Winchester option is far superior. But… am I gonna do that?

Honestly? I have no idea.

What I do know, is that I am suddenly faced with a re-evaluation of my hopes, dreams, and goals, and need to start really diving into what that looks like.

In this re-evaluation, I should be able to come to grips with the truth of my reality, and start to move towards my end goal again- making me free and fully alive.

Have you ever taken the time to answer the questions “Who am I?” And “What do I want?” [This is a post for another time, but now that I have thought of it, I will try to figure out how to squeeze that one in!] If you haven’t, I highly recommend giving it a shot. It really helps to clarify things.

goals