Friendship

Hey friends, before we get to the actual blog, I first off  wanted to take a second and explain what this blog is, it’s real life, it’s what God is teaching me, and showing me. It’s the lessons I’ve learned from the mistakes I’ve made. I want to share it will y’all because you never know who God is using to get through to other people. I’ll have a new blog every Wednesday for the foreseeable future!! Subscribe, like, and share!! 🙂 Now read on as we talk about friendship!!


Friendship is sometimes a term we use loosely, like ya that person I met once is my friend, or I have __ number of Facebook/Snapchat “friends” when a large portion of the time you’ve never even met them. But true friendship is rare, and so so important.

John 15:12-15 says “ My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” As Christians we have the best example of friendship that there ever could be, Jesus. He is always there for us day or night, you can talk to him about anything and everything because, let’s be honest he already knows. As believers we have a special bond with other believers for instance my friend Zach and I were hanging out this weekend, and we were talking about how church camp friendships are so different than any other friendship either of us have ever experienced, we both have best friends that we met at church camp and have that special bond with. Him and his friend have been best friends for 5 years, and my friend and I met and were best friends within no joke less than a minute. I think that is because you know everyone (at least hopefully) working there loves Jesus and you are all serving him. It’s a community, a bond, and a friendship like no other because it is centered on Jesus. Just like a romantic relationship works better if you have Jesus at the center, so does a friendship.  Obviously it doesn’t have to be started at camp, or church. For example at my work right now, I get along with everybody and they’re all really nice, but with the people I know are Christians I am much more open with, I ask for prayer, offer to pray over them, ask how their walk is going, talk about how great the Lord is, and am just on another level with them.

These kind of friends are the best kind, you know the kind I’m talking about, the ones who are there at 2 am when you need them, who you can talk to about anything and everything, who you can go to with any problem and their response is either “I’ll be praying for you”, or “let me pray for you right now”, who will drop what they are doing if you need them (for example they’ll help you/teach you how to jump your car even when they have company (thanks Zach…)) who know every single thing about you and have never judged you, who you can go months or even years without seeing, but as soon as you do see them nothing has changed, and who will give you some tough love when you need it. Those friends are so important. It doesn’t matter if you have a million Facebook friends and 9000 Snapchat friends, if you don’t have this kind of friend, you don’t have a real friend, but if you have just one of these, and 0 Facebook or Snapchat friends then you my dear are so truly blessed. I am so grateful to say that I have several of these friends, some I’ve known for years, some I’ve only known for just a few months, and some I had in previous seasons of my life and we fell out of touch. But all of them have helped me through my life, they are the best parts of me, they are the family that I chose and they chose me back.

Recently I have been rediscovering who these real friends are and I am honestly so amazed at how many I have. But This weekend I was especially reminded of how good these friendships are as I got to see not one, but two of them. The first one was my pal from camp (the one that we became best friends in under a minute) her name is Emily, and if it weren’t for her this summer wouldn’t have been the same. After an hour of knowing each other we both knew pretty much everything about the other and within two days of knowing her I went home with her (if they hired her at camp she probably wasn’t going to murder me right?) She got me through some pretty dark and lonely times this summer. She loved me at my worst and I’m so thankful for that and until Friday we hadn’t seen each other since early August and oh boy nothing was different. We hugged for a solid minute when we first saw each other and though we only had 24 hours together, we talked about everything, we cried hard and laughed hard. We were silly and we had deep deep conversations but it was all centered on the Lord and my heart was and still is so full.  My second friend that I got to see this weekend was my friend Zach, we met almost 4 years ago when he was my church intern, we were pals almost immediately and though we go through long periods of not talking and not seeing each other (until Saturday it had been since early June since we had seen each other), we can always pick right back up where we left off and catch up. Recently though we discovered that we didn’t know a lot about each other’s past and just knew what had happened since we’d known each other. This weekend though we were able to catch each other up on what has been happening recently, but we were also able to talk about life, and our story and how the Lord is working in our lives. By Saturday night my heart was so full of friendship, laughter, love, and the Lord, I was so refreshed and it has continued into this week, and the Lord knew I needed that.

Remember that these friends are so good and so important, but the Lord is the ultimate friend, I got to see Citizen way in concert this weekend and their song “I will” has a line that I was reminded of when writing this blog, it says: “I will hold you when you’re breaking, like a father and a friend. And I will carry you through darkness till we see the sun again, so rest your head and cry your tears know that I am with you here…”

The Lord puts people in our lives to help us on our journey, are you using them? Have you been refreshed by a good talk with a great pal recently? If not, why not? I understand maybe you can’t go see them, both of my friends I talked about live 2.5 hours away, and most of my other friends live at least that far, if not farther. But phones exist and FaceTime is a beautiful thing. Take a moment and call a true friend, talk about life and remind each other that the Lord is good in everything, and He has a plan even when we don’t know what it could possibly be.

The Lord is so good y’all and so are true friends.

Love everyone but love those friends just a little more.

Love y’all

~Noelle

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This is my story, this is my song praising my savior all the day long. 

Last week I wrote about not letting fear controlling me, so I decided to share my story (which is not something I’m super comfortable with but it’s my story, it’s what makes me, me and I’m learning to love me.) So here we go:
I was born in a suburb of Atlanta Georgia and lived there with my mom, dad, and older sister Hope until I was 9, my dad’s mom, stepdad, dad, and stepmom all lived within an hour of us, we had friends that were more like family all around us and other than my mom being sick, life was good. I was raised in a Christian home, we grew up going to church every Sunday and Wednesday, went to a Christian ballet studio, and a christian homeschool group, I came to know the Lord when I was 3 years old. I was surrounded by people that loved me and loved the Lord everywhere I went, and I am so grateful for that because if it weren’t for them I don’t know where I would be today. My mom became very sick when she was pregnant with me, and it has continued for my entire life, because of that she is mostly bedridden and in a wheelchair. When I was 9 we moved from Georgia to Clearwater Kansas a small town with about 2000 people, we moved to help my elderly grandparents and while I’m grateful we did, The move was hard on our entire family. Not only was it a huge culture shock going from living in Atlanta to living in a very small town in KS, but it was hard not knowing anyone except our grandparents, it was hard for me going from being so involved in so many things to literally being involved in nothing. Our family dynamics quickly changed, we moved into a small duplex while looking for houses around town, it was so small that my sister moved in with my grandparents down the street, she also began going to public school which meant I was at home with my mom 24/7 because I was still homeschooled. Our family quickly became an unhealthy one, with lots of arguing and emotional abuse. I remember right after moving telling my mom “I wish I would’ve never been born” I know now that I was starting to get depressed, but at the time all I knew was everything had changed, including me. My sister and I weren’t as close, because we weren’t spending as much time together, I didn’t have any friends, and everything and everyone I grew up with had been taken away from me.

Fast forward a few years to middle school and I have a few pretty close friends and I’m pretty involved with my church, but life was still not good, I was still so sad and though nobody knew when I was 11, in about march I began cutting myself, and had even thought about suicide, thankfully though summer came and I went to a place called Youthfront Camp West, for the first time since I moved to KS I felt so loved and so at home. Many of you have heard me say “Youthfront saved my life” and that sentence is so true. I was renewed by the Holy Spirit and by people who loved on me instead of judging me. I still struggled with this pit inside of me, the sadness that overtook me and stole my energy, I still heard and believedthe lies that I wasn’t good enough, even though I was active in church, and active in the word, and even felt close to God there was this sadness in me. But every summer I felt the Holy Spirit love on me at camp, I was loved on by this community that was and still is unlike anything I’ve ever known before.

Then it came time for me to go to high school, much like most people this is the section that has the most difficulties, the most mistakes, the most tears, but also the most strength and the most growth in it. I was going to go to public school for the first time ever, I was terrified as anyone would be, but I was a little more terrified than most. You see all those years of being homeschooled, were rough, between my mom being sick and then moving and not knowing where things were, I hadn’t actually been properly educated. When I went to high school I was very behind in everything, but especially math, I had never done multiplication, I had never seen division, and I had never even heard of the alphabet being in math. I was so lost in everything, thankfully though I had some pretty amazing teachers who saw that I was behind and didn’t think “oh well that’s just one” instead they saw potential in me and took the time to catch me up. By this point I had quite a few friends, most of which were either two years younger, or two years older. I was very involved with my youth group and life was better…kind of. I was still so depressed and still was self harming, and I was so overwhelmed that I would put off doing things because there was too much to do, I now know that is a sign of anxiety. Sophomore year came and I started a guy, who I ended up dating for almost 4 years, we moved very quickly and soon fell into sin, I thought I was going to marry him so I thought it would all be ok, but 4 and a half years later, we’re not even together. Throughout the rest of high school, I was still struggling to stay caught up in school, I was struggling to put on a happy face, and I was struggling with my faith because I had let God down. At the beginning of my Junior year my Grandma got very sick and was in and out of hospitals and rehab facilities, when she was able to go home for a short period, my mom moved in with her and after school I would go and help this woman who looked like my grandma but acted like a stranger. She didn’t know who we were, and she became violent. 3 months later she went home to The Lord. Not even a month later my Grandpa became very ill as well and went to live with my uncle. I went almost a year without seeing him and it tore me apart, I had lost 2 of my grandparents within a month of each other. In about February I started having these terrible recurring nightmares of a man coming in my window and hurting me, slowly it went from him hurting me to this man raping me, and then while we were visiting Georgia one summer, it went from being a nightmare that I got to wake up from in the mornings, to a nightmare that was my life. I started remembering this rape that had really happened that I had repressed when I was 7. This family friend had taken advantage of me, and taken away my innocence. It tore me apart and almost nobody knew. My depression and anxiety had gotten so much worse, though I had always been jumpy, and scared of random things (all of which made sense after I remembered) that got worse, I now know that it’s because I have PTSD, I was not in a good place at all. In late March of my senior year my grandpa became more ill and was placed in the hospital, and then eventually a rehab facility, the day before my senior prom, he went home to be with the Lord as well. My mom and uncle began fighting about my grandparents’ will’s when my grandma passed away and it just worsened when we lost my grandpa. Losing both of my grandparents, remembering my rape, being in my senior year, and dealing with undiagnosed depression, anxiety and PTSD, about killed me.

The fall after high school I went to Oklahoma Baptist University to study early childhood education, I 100% knew that the Lord wanted me at OBU, and I still believe that. It was hard not knowing anyone at school and only one person in the whole town. My mental health quickly worsened,but thankfully I met some amazing friends and professors, who saw I wasn’t in a good place and were there for me. The guy that I began dating in high school and I were still dating and still living in sin, in early October of 2015 I had a miscarriage, I didn’t know that I was pregnant beforehand and it about destroyed me. I believe that life is started at conception and because of that I wanted to name my baby, my then boyfriend though thought that was crazy and honestly didn’t even believe I had lost a baby. I went ahead and named my sweet little unborn angel. The whole experience was a huge wake up call that I needed to repent and change my ways, but it was also the beginning of a wake up call that the relationship was not a healthy one. Everything had piled up on me and I no longer knew how to deal with it. In early January after some very bad nights of depression getting the best of me, I knew I had to get help. I started going to therapy and though I only went for a semester it helped me grow so much. My therapist told me that “an untold story never heals” and so I began being more open about my story, I am so thankful that I did that because now when I tell it, I don’t cry, and it barely hurts at all, instead I look at how good God is and how He has a plan for all of this even though I don’t know what it is.

As I mentioned before, in middle school a camp called Youthfront saved and changed my life. This past summer I got to live my dream and be a cabin leader there. Again I felt so much love from everyone, so much acceptance and a community that was stronger than anything I’ve ever know, and again the Lord used it to save my life. The experience helped me heal and and grow not only in my faith but just as a person. I was closer to the Lord than I ever had been before and my mental health was also better than anytime I could remember. I broke up with the boy I had been dating, and I learned so much. I continued the process of healing from all the different things in my life. I felt the Lord telling me that I was not supposed to go back to OBU, and after praying about it I decided to move to Manhattan KS and with the help of my sister I got a job working with special needs kids at a therapy clinic. I was terrified to move, because I didn’t know what my job would entail and I didn’t know my roommates, but I trusted the Lord and had to completely rely on him, and I’m so so glad I did. In November I went to one of my friend’s houses from camp and we quickly learned that she needed a roommate and I needed a new place to live, less than 3 weeks later we were roommates and have become so close over the past 3 and a half months. The Lord knew that we both needed each other in this season of life. I have grown more than I ever have before, I was able to forgive all the people who had hurt me and it felt great (if you want to read more about that, check out my blog from 3 weeks ago called “Forgiveness”)

When you read my story I want you to know that though there has been so much pain, there has also been so much joy and in the pain God is faithful and good. The Lord has brought people into my life, even if it was only for a season to help me get through life and love on me and remind me that The Lord is faithful. I’ve always said that if anything that I’ve been through The Lord can use me to just help one person, then it makes everything worth it.

I want you to know that whether I know you or not, whether we used to talk and now we don’t, or whether we are best friends I am here for you to talk to if you need, I will love you no matter what, I will remind you that the Lord has a plan, and I will never judge.

Remember that the Lord is good, and He has a plan. Remember that things will get better, and if you feel like you have let the Lord down, remember you were never holding Him up.
Everybody has a story, and the Lord can use your story to help others, so think about sharing it. What’s the worst that can happen?

Much love,

Noelle

Live Untamed 

My friend Zach Atkeson’s motto is to live untamed and he does it well, he doesn’t let fear stop him from following his dreams or from getting out of his comfort zone. He has started a project this year called Mix it Up Monday, where he does something out of his comfort zone EVERY WEEK!! Then he makes a video about it every Monday. I’ll put the link to his first video at the bottom.

For those of you that actually know me, most of you probably know that I have anxiety, stepping out of your comfort zone is scary enough, but add on anxiety and it can make it feel impossible. Even this week I had a couple of situations that terrified me, but I felt the Lord was calling me to do them. Specifically for one of them, the days leading up to it my anxiety was pretty bad, but the hours leading up to it I felt like my heart was actually going to jump out of my chest, but in that I was able to rest in the Lord, I got down on my knees and prayed over and over “Lord give me courage, give me strength, give me peace, let me trust you, give the other person compassion in their response, and give me acceptance with whatever the outcome is” for nearly 40 minutes I prayed that, and while it was still a situation that was stressful and scary, I had peace that only the Lord can give. I am so thankful that I trusted the Lord and got out of my comfort zone.

The past year and especially the past couple of months I have been pushed farther and farther out of my comfort zone, and with each step I’ve had to trust and rely on the Lord. I’m so thankful that I have, because of it I’ve grown so much this year. One of the ways I’ve had to step out of my comfort zone is kind of small, but has definitely made me grow. All of my life I’ve never been the outdoorsy type (partially because I’m deathly allergic to stinging insects) but this past spring I was in a science class that forced me to go outside and be in nature, I thought I was going to hate it, but instead it was one of my favorite classes ever!! This year I’ve continued to get out of that comfort zone and go on hikes, bike rides, and love being in nature and enjoy God’s artwork. Also this year, I trusted the Lord when He called me to quit school, move to a new city and start a big girl job. It was terrifying, but with each step the Lord provided for me and I’ve grown so much.

The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Everyone has fear, everyone has a comfort zone, but we can’t let either one control us. The Lord is so good and so faithful and he won’t leave us, so step out of your comfort zone!

What is scarring you? Don’t let it stop you; you don’t know the result (and yes I know that’s what makes it scary) but what if that thing that terrifies you is going to change your life for the better forever. What if you find your love? What if you get your dream job? What if you meet your best friend? What if you impact someone’s life forever? Don’t let the “what if’s” stop you, let them inspire you to live untamed!

https://youtu.be/w1OOYdSejwc This is my friend Zach’s first mix it up Monday video, watch it, enjoy it, and let it encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and mix up your life. Also subscribe to his channel, he’ll never cease to entertain and inspire you!

Forgiveness 

So after two and a half years of not blogging I’ve decided to start again, ironically I decided this on the 4 year anniversary of starting my blog. I had no clue it was today, until I logged on and it told me! I’ll continue to write about what the Lord is teaching me and topics that are important to me. 
The Lord has been teaching me s much these last two years, my life has been turned upside down over and over again. I’ve lost friends and people I thought would be in my life forever, but I’ve gained so many too. My plans have made a complete 180 (several times) but through it all the Lord has remained so faithful. 

Recently I have been reading a devotion on forgiveness, a couple of weeks ago I read this passage in Matthew about forgiving somebody. When asked how many times we should forgive someone, Jesus replied 70 x 7, which equals 490, I don’t believe He was saying stop forgiving someone when they have wronged you 491 times, but instead saying you should forgive people infinity after reading this I was finally able to let go of the anger and hurt in my heart that has been there for years. As I was journaling about this passage I began to wonder if I had the opportunity to take back all the things people of done to me over the years, would I? After giving it a lot of thought I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t take it back. Even though those things have hurt me, they have made me the person I am today and I am starting to love that girl, and use that hurt to help other people. I am excited about this new season in my life. Somebody once told me that not forgiving someone is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die, that stuck with me and let me tell you, holding hate in your heart is draining, but forgiveness feels really great!! Forgives doesn’t have to just be about someone else, you have to forgive yourself too, that part I’m still working on, but I’m excited for it. Life is short don’t waste it by not forgiving somebody. 
Who do you need to forgive? How are you going to do it? What’s stopping you?