Friday, March 27, 2015

What to Say

Watching the news about this Germanwings plane crash has really hit home. They keep showing a map of a continent and countries with which I'm so familiar. And today and yesterday my kiddos in Germany left to go to their various mission trips around Asia, Africa, & Europe. I couldn't help but be somewhat concerned for them. And I know they're resilient to flights and airplanes, but it still got me a little worried.

Not to mention I've just...missed them. Especially this week. I think because I know had I stayed I would've been leaving on a mission trip with them. And if I'm honest, I haven't really given myself a chance to mourn Germany like I thought I would. When I got back to America it was one big whirlwind and the person I thought cared so much about me and my life there, really wasn't interested in hearing about it except a few times. So I kept it all inside and soon life here became more about my relationship with someone who inevitably knew it would end before it was given a chance.

And now...nobody really asks me about Germany. That's not a plea or a cry for anything. It's just honesty. The questions now are more about what's next, how my heart is, how I'm doing...which is all well and good and great. But do the last 2 1/2 years I spent in a country that I love with amazing people not count for anything anymore? I was there a lot longer than I was with him.

I finally came to a place of reconciliation with myself, at least in the part of the journey that's led me to Jacksonville. I know that I'm here right now and that I don't have any idea of what's next. And the best thing I can do is choose to live in the circumstances given to me. I can't fight it and really, if it wasn't for my parents, I'd be on the street right now. So as low and as crummy as I feel right now, I know that I have to continue walking in it for as long as it takes.

On a random note, if you want to contact me, email me at allistroud78@gmail.com. I don't know how soon I'll respond, but since I'm off FB inevitably, it's a good way to keep up.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mourning

Nearly a month ago, my world was rocked and what I thought I'd moved back to America for was completely shot into oblivion. To be honest, I have no idea what I'm mourning more - a relationship that I thought was going to be "it" or the continent I've lived off and on for 12 years and left to pursue the former.

I signed off Facebook and although it happened around the same time as Lent, I did it more for my mental sanity. I didn't want to be bombarded with all of the questions and, selfishly, I didn't really want to see anything going on in Kandern for a while. I just needed my head to breathe if that makes any sense.

Everyday I wake up and feel either worse or better than the day before. I'm essentially transitioning from two different experiences and feel quite alone though it all. My best friends are spread out all over Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Texas, and Europe. And because I didn't really give anyone any notice that I was getting off Facebook, I'm not in touch with a lot of people. I guess you take the good with the bad? I don't know.

There seemed to be somewhat of a light at the end of this long and dark tunnel - on Monday I had a job interview in Ft. Lauderdale to teach next year. As I was driving on 595 and then onto Federal Hwy, I could feel my spirit begin to awaken for the first time in 3 weeks. I'm not saying that living back in South Florida will solve all of my problems because I know that I can't escape them. But at least I know it's a familiar place that I know with friends and a church waiting for me.

So, this is where I am. Just sitting and waiting and doing my best to keep my mind occupied. Walking in the pain is something that comes with all of this and I'm definitely doing my share of that. I'm just waiting to feel like myself once again.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

This Describes Everything.

Yes, there has been heartbreak. Yes, the expectation of what I thought would be is dead. But today a friend sent me this song and it is exactly what I needed to hear....

Tell Your Heart to Beat Again - Danny Gokey

You're shattered
Like you've never been before
The life you knew
In a thousand pieces on the floor
And words fall short in times like these
When this world drives you to your knees
You think you're never gonna get back
To the you that used to be

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday's a closing door
You don't live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you've been
And tell your heart to beat again

Beginning
Just let that word wash over you
It's alright now
Love's healing hands have pulled you through
So get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun
Cause your story's far from over
And your journey's just begun

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday's a closing door
You don't live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you've been
And tell your heart to beat again

Let every heartbreak
And every scar
Be a picture that reminds you
Who has carried you this far
'Cause love sees farther than you ever could
In this moment heaven's working
Everything for your good

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday's a closing door
You don't live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you've been
And tell your heart to beat again
Your heart to beat again
Beat again

Oh, so tell your heart to beat again

Monday, February 9, 2015

Paradise and Mickey

Hey, guess what? I'm not talking about community in this post.

In the midst of all of this transitional crap and sanctification, a ray of sunshine came out. My friend Erika took me on a Disney cruise on Friday. It's our 3rd cruise and we're now trying to obtain Gold Member status (you get Silver on your 2nd). I'm sure many of you are like "Why the same cruise? Why a Disney cruise without kids?" Um...because it's amazing! And kids? There aren't kids in the adult section of the ship nor are there kids in the spa, which is where the majority of our time was spent.

Yesterday we both splurged and decided to get this spa treatment involving chocolate. Like, we were essentially wrapped in a chocolate body mask and after that came off we got a full body massage. I KNOW!!!!!! I came out of the treatment literally feeling like a million dollars. And my skin has never felt so soft!! Nor have I ever spent 100 minutes in a spa treatment before. 100 MINUTES!!!!

The cruise was pretty much awesome. I'm tired but it's a good tired. I got a chance to process some stuff with Erika and catch up on life with her, too. We definitely spoiled ourselves rotten but I feel that sometimes you just have to do that.

Now, I'm back on the couch job hunting and slowly getting back to the real world. It's nice to escape for a few days. I'm so glad Erika was able to do this.

Also, could you (whoever you are that read this) please start praying I get a job? Even just a part-time, answering phones, whatever kind of job? Thanks.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

What I Missed/Am Missing/Will Probably Always Miss

Tonight I came to Barnes and Noble to have some 'me' time. It's kind of something I've done off and on for the last month.

I went to a spin class tonight and it kicked my butt and I loved every single minute. It helped that the instructor played "It's Gonna Be Me" by Nsync. According to my Polar Fit watch, I burned 679 calories. I also burned off a lot of stress and some emotionalism (is that a word?) that's been plaguing me for the last week or so.

I realized last night just how much I miss my Kandern community. John and I were talking and he said, "Tell me about BFA. What do you miss?" The tears flowed freely (so freely in fact, that through my tears I told him, "Now you've opened the flood gates!") and I opened up and told him that I missed going over to the Martins after school. I missed sitting in Kristy's kitchen and just talking to the girls and hearing them shush Drew as he played his Wii. I missed the atmosphere of Audrey's tutoring sessions and how she would always stop what she was doing and ask me how I was doing. I missed Abby's excitement over getting a role in a play and Anna's sweet smile while she talked to me over a cup of Senseo flavored coffee. I missed Drew's inquisitive "What are you talking about?" "Wait, what happened?" and the inevitable "Nothing, Drew." I missed taking down the Tree of Trust and just venting and laughing and just being in a home that felt like partly my own.

Then I told him about the Stemples and how Jen and I would meet for lunch. How Ellie always smiled when she saw me. How the last time I was with them we did nothing but sit on the couch and watched a Christmas movie and ate döner kebabs. How Jen would meet with me every Friday and hug me and encourage me and assure me that life was just like this. I was normal and all of what I was experiencing was normal. I told him that I felt like a part of their family and going over to their house was like going over to my own.

I told him I hadn't always been such a planner and that many nights I'd sit on my bed and be messaging with a fellow BFA co-worker and in a few minutes she'd be over at my house sitting on my floor and laughing with me.

I sound like a broken record (or a skipping CD? What do we compare that to now?) but the hardest part of being back here is that I've lost that instant community. Sometimes I wake up and I feel like it's all over and I've completely acclimated. And then I get out on the 408 and realize I have no idea where the heck I am.

I think last night had been the first time I'd really opened up and I think that it really hit me that I wouldn't be back at the Martins or the Stemples. Or that randomly messaging a friend and asking her to come over in five minutes was really a thing of the past.

It comes and goes and as much as I want all of this to be over and as much as I just want to feel "normal", in a sense I know it's just beginning.

Today my encouragement comes from the first few verses in Ephesians 2:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:1-7)

Thanks be to God....even in the sanctifying process of transition.

Monday, February 2, 2015

So...Transition's Not Over...

I'm sure many of you read the title and thought "Duh. Of course it's not."

I know it's not. For goodness sake I've only been back a month and 9 days.

I guess it feels longer. Sometimes I think that last semester was a year ago already. Other times, it feels like I was just there. I guess, in essence, I was.

Last week was rough. As you read in my last blog, I was struggling with loneliness. I still am. I'm yearning for community and a "real" job.

Over the weekend, I realized I was closer to community than I thought. On Saturday, a new friend from my small group and I went to dinner and to see a One Act play put on by the high school where she is a teacher. Watching it made me yearn to do what I love to do - direct - and as spectacular as the actor's were, all I could think about was how I would've cast it using my BFA kiddos. Nonetheless, it was nice to go out with a new friend.

On Sunday at church, I walked in and instead of feeling like I knew no one, I was immediately able to start up conversations with three people that I've started to get to know. I sat down next to John before the service and said, "I know people here!" I know I sound like a kid but I kind of felt like it. The new girl in school is starting to make friends.

There are still sides of transition that aren't fun and sides that I wish wouldn't rear their ugly head. The fear of not having money seems to always creep its way inside my head and those fears come out in snippy remarks and with an attitude that I'd more or less like to repress. Or it comes out in my oversensitivity. If you know me well at all, you know this is something I've always struggled with. In the Spirit, my overly sensitive nature can be a beautiful thing. In my flesh, it's ugly plain and simple. Mix all of that with transitioning to a new place and being in the center of confusion 90% of the time and it does not make for a fun person to be around.

Wow, if you don't know me I probably haven't given you the best impression just now.

The thing is, I just want to be done with it all. I want to have a normal job again where I have a salary. I want to call up at least three girlfriends and say, "Hey, there's happy hour tonight. Wanna go?" I want to be the caring girlfriend who is always sweet and kind and caring to her boyfriend and doesn't let the insecurity of transition and past relationships bombard her thinking.

I remind myself daily to give myself grace to get through all of this new stuff. I remind myself that God hasn't forgotten about me and even in today's Jesus time I read the scripture in Matthew that says "Fear not, therefore; you are worth more than many sparrows" (Matt 10:31).

My sweet mother made a great point this morning on the phone - "Allow God to meet you in the midst of your transition. He wants to use this time to show you who you are so that you run to Him and not to anything else."

So, that's my prayer. That my Abba would constantly be the One I run to during this time of wanting to forget that transition takes time. That it's not an overnight process. And that all along, He's not abandoned me or forgotten the desires of my heart. The desires to be in community, to have a job, to just be an all around nice person. The desire to just be in His presence and let Him take control from me, living out this season of uncertainty.






Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Frustration of Loneliness

My struggle this week - discovering that I'm lonely.

I just came from a large community with a lot of friends. Like if I wanted to, I could've scheduled coffee dates for the next six months with people in Kandern. I was the one who planned stuff, who liked to travel with my nearest and dearest there, who loved it when my neighbors were some of my closest friends.

Now I find myself in a large city with a lot of people. And the person who was the most social, is now the least social of anyone.

I talked with my former roommate, Justina, on Friday and she told me community was something she was missing, too. It was not like it was in Kandern. Other people who have left BFA previously have told me the same thing and I heard it long before I left. But once you're in the middle of it and experiencing it for yourself, it's not real.

I know it won't ever be like it was in Kandern. The walks to and from friends' houses are over. Walking to the cafe to meet for a coffee date four out of five days of the work week are done. I guess I'd just like a community of girlfriends of some sort to at least meet up with once a week.

Also, this isn't a blog to say that there haven't been people who have reached out to me. That would be a lie. I'm just expressing the desire I have for community again and to feel a part of something once more. And in this stage of loneliness. it only brings me closer to the One who created us for community, which is a sweet reminder that once more He knows my heart better than I know my own.