Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Insert Morrissey Lyrics Here

I've been depressed lately.

The excitement of "New life, new everything!" has transitioned to "Wait, this kinda sucks." I'm struggling with a bunch of stuff right now.

Missing home is a big one. I cried uncontrollably on Thanksgiving. It was my first time not being with family, and I didn't expect the emotions to hit so hard. I visited home for 10 days earlier in November, and it was everything I could have wanted and more. Awesome, quality family and friend time, cat time (SO NEEDED - seriously, my life would be greatly enhanced if I was allowed to have a cat at the trailer), beautiful weather, outdoor adventures - just a wonderful mix of relaxation and fun with people I really care about. I didn't want to come back to Georgia. At all. So, things have been difficult since then. I'm holding on to the fact that I'll be back home for Christmas, but after that, who knows. I probably won't be home again for at least another six months, and that's a scary/upsetting thought.

I'm also experiencing some challenges with work and church, which are obviously huge pieces of my life. I'm desperate for community that I don't feel like I've found yet. I do have some friends I would consider close or moving toward close, but they're spread out and all go to different churches. I'm used to having a core group of friends that meet each week and get super involved in each other's lives. I desire to know and be known on a deep level. Surface stuff isn't really my jam. I kinda wish people here knew everything about me like my friends do in NJ, so they could call me out on my crap and push me closer to Christ. Speaking of, an older mentor/pastor relationship would be amazing, too. Especially as I tend to slip away from Him when I get in funks like this. And make poor decisions, like I have over the past few days.

Basically, I'm questioning why I'm here. Meaning here in Georgia and here on Earth in general. I used to think I had a calling once, and I rode that wave for a while. Now, I'm not really sure what it is. And I feel very much alone in Georgia, missing everyone I love, missing the places I love, missing nature - what I wouldn't give for the luxury of walking out my door to the mountains or beach again. I live in a horribly boring, horribly congested, no pretty places to go town. And I'm learning that's not exactly the best fit for this nature-loving, hippy at heart girl.

I'm trying to find little bits of peace and happiness where ever I can - in the new boot camp gym I've been going to (even though it will severely affect my already dismal finances if I keep going there), in my box set of The Office (really though, Jim makes everything better) and in the Christmas lights my neighbors and I put up on the trailer to bring some kind of light to my dumpy dwelling.

I write all of this to confess where I'm at and ask for your prayers. Things are just really hard for me right now, and the holidays and impending darkness/cold of winter certainly don't help. Encouragement is very much appreciated, especially if you've experienced the exact situation I'm in. A lonely, confusion situation.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Make Me A Fool

Make me a fool
Take this away

Make me a fool
Shield my eyes

Wipe my tears
Wash my mind
Protect my heart

Make me a fool
I'm a living cliche

Today, I am bringing to light a recent struggle that has consumed me to an unhealthy degree. A struggle I'm embarrassed by, a struggle I never thought I'd have. But here I am, 30 years old and single, desiring a relationship more than ever.

Over the past few weeks, I've noticed myself noticing others. Couples in love, couples engaged, couples married. I'm noticing them and coveting what they have. I'm coveting their adorable photos and carefree smiles and kind words for each other.

I'm thinking of couples I know who very tangibly have what I want. They are living out Godly lives with Christ at the center, honoring each other and those around them. For this reason, I'm convinced that it's possible, yet when for me?

I'm looking at ring fingers. I'm trying to discern age. I'm browsing friends lists. I'm checking relationship statuses. And hating myself for doing so. Hating myself for being so distracted.

I'm resenting the in-between. I'm frustrated by the fact that seemingly every Christian man my age who I'd be interested in is married, and every single Christian man I'd be interested in is way too young for me. Guess this is the Bible belt, right?

I find myself praying for release from this nagging discontent. I've even asked God to trick me. Fool me into believing that you don't have someone for me, even if you do, just so my mind succumbs to the possibility of it never happening. Maybe I can be free if you fool me.

Maybe I am the fool. Maybe this is not "in my cards," as it were. If that's the case, please take away the desire completely. Force my gaze elsewhere, plant my feet where they are to be, just you and me, and not you and me and him.

I write this to encourage any other single woman who feels lonely, guilty, unworthy, confused and tired. I am with you. And He is still for us. I shake my fist at Him sometimes. I cry on my knees to Him sometimes. And He is still for us.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

And The Hits Just Keep On Coming

Let's recap the past week, shall we?

My car started making a noise of death while driving 70mph on the highway. I brought it in for repair, and $450 unexpected dollars later, all that was done was airing away some brake dust and resurfacing my rotors.

I discovered that even though I'm making a slightly higher salary here and working more hours than I did in New Jersey, I'm actually taking home less pay than I was before moving. It's now been four years since I've been able to save any money whatsoever. Regardless, I truly love my job. It was just a major buzzkill to find this out, and I'll have to re-budget accordingly.

My neighbors and I have come across two gigantic dead mice right outside my trailer, as our extermination process continues. Three holes inside have been patched (one in my bathroom wall that was eaten through) and countless traps set. I have yet to sleep through an entire night here, and I run on fumes daily after hearing said rodents parade around inside my walls every evening at ungodly hours.

Today, I somehow ended up with a nail in my tire. Thank God my landlord's son and neighbor were able to plug it, and I pray the plug stays in because my tires are brand new, and I obviously can't handle another automotive expense.

On top of all this, there continue to be serious health concerns in my family that I of course can do nothing about, not even hug the person because for the first time in my life, I'm not a short drive/train ride away.

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer. Some lovely things have happened in the past week too, such as beautiful photo shoots and shared laughter with coworkers. I just felt it necessary to pen these adventures down as I have been. I hope to one day look back and think nothing of this nonsense. I've only been in Georgia for a month and a half, and I feel like I've already dealt with a year's worth of junk, honestly.

What doesn't kill you, right? To be continued...

EDIT #1: Ooook. Can y'all please pray for me? If you read this blog post, you know the week I've already had. This morning, another tire (not the one we plugged) is totally flat. Can we like redo this whole week please? Or can I go on vacation or something?

EDIT #2: Jesus is so worthy of some praise right now! I can count on one hand the number of people I have on my side in Georgia (my neighbors and coworkers), because I don't have any other solid, established friendships yet. And *thank God* for them. I rarely ever ask for financial help; it just doesn't sit well with me, even if I'm in need. Without me asking, my neighbor paid for my tire patch + full tank of gas this morning, and my coworker is treating me to lunch today + pest control service for my resident mice. I am beyond grateful to the point of tears! I've been through so much in a short time and often feel very alone here, but through it all, God is faithful <3

EDIT #3: This also happened haha oh boy!


Monday, September 5, 2016

A Place Prepared

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?" -John 14:1-2 NIV

Jesus is talking about Heaven here, but I find myself applying the heart of these verses to my life right now. During worship at church yesterday, I was overwhelmed by the thought of God preparing a place for me in Georgia. He knew I would follow His lead. He could have orchestrated my job transfer then stepped back, leaving me to my own devices to figure out the rest.

But that's not what a good Father would do.

He prepared everything for me - from my vintage trailer, to my incredibly kind neighbors, to my joyful coworkers, to the friends I'm meeting, even to the little details in each day that He knows make me so happy, like freight trains and water towers and warehouses.

I can't help but be overcome with emotion by this! The God of the universe, the One who made the heavens and earth, loves me this much. Enough to take care of everything in advance and walk with me in the present toward my future with Him.

If you're wondering how I know Jesus is real, just look at my life. It's new, it's exciting, it's blessed - not by my own hand but only by His.

Take a moment to reflect on how God has prepared a place for you up to this point in your life. What do you think He might be preparing for your future?

Friday, August 26, 2016

This is Hard

It's been one month since I moved down to Georgia, and I've been going nonstop every day. On top of working, I visited six churches (some several times), explored parks and restaurants, attended singles events and worship nights, and took care of all the necessities associated with moving. And I've done nearly all of this alone.

Multiple people have praised me for taking such a big leap of faith, moving nearly 1,000 miles away from home to a new city with no friends/family waiting for me. Being the confident, independent woman that I am, I've replied in stride saying, "It's fine, everything's fine, I've got Jesus, I'm fine."

Today, I am not fine.

Today, loneliness and homesickness have caught up with me.

I want to walk to the beach, and I can't. I want to hug my parents, and I can't. I want to get ice cream with my best friend, and I can't.

This is hard. This is really hard. I desperately desire good friends here, and good friendships aren't often made in an instant. They take time, they take cultivating. But I want them now. I just want everything to be ok right now.

I don't want to do fun things alone anymore, because they're not always fun that way. I've been a "lone wolf" for most of my life, and it's getting lonely.

I hope things change soon.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My First Week in Georgia

The adventure continues! If you read my last post, then you know how bumpy the road was to Georgia - and my first week was par for the course! I can only laugh at these stories and rejoice in the fact that I've taken them all in stride. I can be a fairly high strung person, so practicing patience is an accomplishment to be celebrated! Let's take a look back at some of the hilariously awful events of the past few days, shall we?

While not really funny and more so just added fuel to my exhaustion, I started work at my new job only two days after moving into the trailer. I figured the South would be much slower paced than the East - boy, was I wrong! I've been going nonstop all day, every day. As someone who loves to check things off my to-do list, I've been extremely stretched as it's become clear that there will never be a blank post-it on my desk. Full throttle from the first minute! I've missed several scheduled breaks for that reason. Learning how to navigate between two supervisors (with much expected of me from both) has been really challenging. I still have several hours of online training to do, a website redesign, 2.5-day staff retreat in Augusta, three-day conference in Atlanta, and another three-day Advisory Board training which will take me all over the state (Atlanta, Macon and Valdosta, to be exact). And this is just over the next month and a half, on top of regular duties!

Add heavy work load to my constant running around after leaving the office, taking care of everything that needs attention from utilities installations to car inspection to bank account opening, all the tedious stuff that comes along with a big move. My eating schedule is off, and I haven't slept through the night yet! Been up 2-3 times every night (even with NyQuil!), which majorly sucks and doesn't help my cause.

I know I promised funny stories, which are coming, but it's worth mentioning that on top of all of this, there have been some serious health concerns in my family. Anxiety about that paired with lack of sleep/energy led to a mini breakdown at work one day. Lots of tears. Like crying five different times that day tears. Did I really need to have my period during my first week here, too?! Sorry, guys. Ladies, you understand.

Onto more "you just have to laugh" things - rather than waste precious time, I called Chase bank about opening accounts with them before actually going to my local branch, so I'd know exactly what I needed to bring. Made the list, prepared the materials and drove over. Went through the whole process and found out I couldn't have my Georgia address listed on the accounts until I got a Georgia driver's license. Ok...so, I got my driver's license the next day and found out you only have 30 days to get a license plate, too.

I spent an entire lunch break at the license plate office only to find out that I couldn't get mine until I got emissions testing done, plus there was a $488 fee for my car. I'm sorry, what? Yup. Georgia charges all new residents a special fee for their car, 7% of the car's value, which for me was nearly the cost of rent! Not exactly an expense I was prepared for. Welcome to Georgia.

Circling back to my bank accounts - they were finally opened, but I had to wait a week to get my debit card in the mail. In the meantime, I started transferring money from my old TD Bank accounts (RIP - really wish TD was in Georgia so I wouldn't have to go through this), and even though my Chase rep said I could do that with no problem, my Chase accounts got suspended not once - but twice - because they didn't think it was me making the transactions. More headaches!

Moving on to utilities. I called the gas company to have them turn my gas on while I was at work one day. I had been turning off the air conditioning before I leave for work in the morning, because there's no sense in racking up an electric bill when nobody's there. I came home that day to find that not only did the gas company turn my gas on, but they also turned my heat on. And left it on. Full blast. In a trailer. In Georgia. In August. It was 500 degrees when I walked in, and the heat even blew out my hallway light above the furnace! I called the gas company livid, and they promised to give me a credit on my account. Fun times!

After thoroughly researching internet companies and finding that Comcast is by far the best when it comes to speed, I discovered that they don't service the trailer park (of course!), and my only option was AT&T at a much lower speed. Feeling a bit defeated and praying the service wouldn't flash me back to dial up days, I scheduled installation - which took over 4 hours. I ended up having to call out of work, which was actually a blessing to get some rest (and scoot out for my emissions test), but still. Four freakin hours. At least I have internet now!

Other silly little things that were more annoyance than major issues - this month is the first time ever in my nearly 15 years of being a Verizon customer that I've gone over my cell phone minutes. Mainly from being on hold for way too long with utility companies (forgot to mention I had to call AT&T *three times* because they had my installation info wrong and kept saying they fixed it but actually didn't) and others such as Geico - which gave me a heart attack when they said my new car insurance rate would be higher than what I paid in NJ. That ended up being bogus thankfully - but just another minor nightmare!

Congrats, you've made it to the funniest/best part of this blog post. The bugs. My first week in the trailer was plagued with angry ants that somehow still broke through my cinnamon and Raid barriers. I continue to have a twitch because it constantly feels like they're biting me! The real kicker came one night when I was standing in the kitchen, and a roach came out of nowhere and crawled up my leg. Yup. That happened. I somehow kept my composure, beat it to death with a rolled up t-shirt, and called my neighbors to come pick it up because I didn't want to touch the carcass. Ho-ly smokes.

My saving grace in all of this, aside from God's actual grace, was that my dad and stepmom visited this past weekend. They helped me relax and set off bug bombs in the trailer that have, for the most part, kept things at bay. Though there's now question of possible mold spores floating around. But ya know. Can't win em all. Even funnier (though not for them - sorry Dad and Nan) is that my bad fortune seemed to rub off on my parents as they ended up in a super moldy hotel room. Even after moving to a second room, that one also had spotty internet and tv, a broken phone, car alarms going off in the middle of the night and cigarette smoke coming up through the air conditioner. Could any of us catch a break?!

I've typed all of this out partially as an "I can't believe this was actually my life" memoir for years to come and mostly as a reminder of how incredibly good God is. I spoke to my best friend on the phone a few nights ago and mentioned that through all this, Jesus is refining me. He's helping me become a better woman - one growing in patience, wisdom and humility. Conveniently, three areas I really need help in! If I had stayed in New Jersey, perhaps I would have been spared from what feels like endless stress, but I know that I wouldn't have changed. I wouldn't have silly opportunities like this to be challenged in the best ways. I know every day and every experience will be worth it. Can't wait to become an even better Elyse than the severely sleep-deprived girl I am now :)