“Oh Lord, I am weary. My heart aches and the tears seem inevitable. I cried for hours last night. I felt so blessed by the friends and community at Liberty and now it’s all gone. I just feel so alone. I feel like a failure. I never wanted to do anything to dishonor you but I feel like I have. I just feel awful. And the thing is, I don’t want to feel this way. I don’t want to wallow. I want to feel the joy of my Lord! I guess this is just the season You have me in right now. I’m trying my best, Lord. I’m giving you all that I can. Father, I pray that You would glorify Yourself in my needs. Everything feels like it is in vain but I am trusting that it is not. You know what I long for and I pray that You would use that for Your glory. Oh God, my heart is so heavy. I pray that You would hear me. I am trusting You.
‘Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.’ Psalm 25:16-17
That is my prayer, Lord. I need You desperately.” // Journal Entry, March 26, 2017
Life has been happening so fast recently. I’m currently training for a half-marathon and am getting ready go to Japan in less than two months. I feel like I’m back in college with the amount of coffee that I’ve been drinking. I can hardly believe that we’re in the month of June! It was at this time last year that I moved 2,299 miles across the United States for my job at Desert Springs Community Church. I could not have even imagined all that God has done in my life this past year.
If you’ve read my past blogs, I’ve shared that my transition out to Arizona was more difficult than I thought it would be. I had graduated college a month earlier and I had planned out what my next year would look like. I planned to start my career, move into my first apartment, make a million friends, get engaged, get married and start working on an EP.
I did start my career and move into my first apartment, which I’m very proud of, but I did not make a million friends, get engaged, get married or start working on an EP. I had been here for about 6 months when I started to realize that most of the things I had planned out were not going to work out the way that I wanted them to. I was struggling to make friends and felt misunderstood. I had not felt inspired or done any work on an EP project. I was not going to be getting engaged or married.
January through April were some of the darkest months I’ve experienced in my 20s. I cannot describe the loneliness that I felt. The emotional pain felt almost physical. I would cry constantly. I cried myself to sleep almost every night. I would carry my makeup with me because I would usually end up crying on my way to and from work. God bless my mentor/bestie Angela who sat through many lunches where I cried my eyes out (I think I’ve cried in every restaurant in the Goodyear area). I cried in my cousin’s living room. I cried backstage on Sunday mornings. There was one Sunday my friend Robby who is a pastor at Desert Springs asked if I was doing okay in between our 9:30 & 11:00 service and I literally lost it right there in the middle of the sanctuary, 10 minutes before I was supposed to get back up on stage and lead worship. I was a mess. A HUGE mess. I felt alone. I felt hopeless. I felt like God had forgotten me.
There was one Sunday in particular where I was leading the song “Ever Be.” If you’re not familiar with the song, the chorus is, “Your praise will ever be on my lips / ever be on my lips / Your praise will, ever be on my lips / ever be on my lips.” I was supposed to talk as a transition to the song and I had no idea what to say. I barely felt like I had the strength to sing that morning. I was just hoping I wouldn’t burst into tears on stage. How was I supposed to talk and encourage my fellow believers to praise the Lord at all times when there was nothing in me that even wanted to praise Him? I was deeply convicted that day.
I was taken to a place where I had to realize and truly grasp that He alone was enough. I had to not just believe that God was enough but I had to know it.
I was in the valley, ya’ll. Truly. I took that confusion and pain and faced it head-on. I poured my heart out in journals. I prayed constantly. I opened up. I let myself cry (as mentioned above). I got a mentor which is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. I started to long to worship because I felt that was where my focus was fixed on what was true. I didn’t leave my pain at the door, I took it into worship with me. I was in a deep struggle and some of the most real moments I’ve experienced in worship came from that time.
I can’t give you a specific day or moment where I felt God take me out of the valley but I can say that I have been awakened to His joy. It is SO real! I’m out of the valley. I made it! I feel like a whole different person. Not that I’ve changed much in my personality but inside I feel brand new. I feel refreshed. I feel more myself than I have felt in a long time. I’m laughing again, like belly laughing. I’m connecting more with other people. It feels so great.
I’ve embraced where God has me and am learning each day about who He wants me to be. I am incredibly excited for what He has for me and am overwhelmed that I get to serve Him in full-time ministry.
Some of you reading this might be in the valley right now. I understand. I get it. I know it. Take heart, friend. I’m here for you and God surely is too. He will take you through it and be beside you every step of the way. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you need someone. As mentioned above, worship was one of the greatest resources in the valley so I’ve created a Spotify playlist ( https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/129952097/playlist/3LcMF9KEvP0113CuuGq5qn” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”> ) if you feel like you’re there now.
In a very weird way, I’m truly thankful for everything that has happened this past year of my life. I trust that there is so much more good to come. I still have hopes and dreams and cares and concerns but I’m giving them all to God. I want Him to glorified no matter what.
So, here’s to you, Arizona. You’ve given me one heck of a year. Excited to spend more years with you.