Shameless Truthtelling.

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photo by: Chase Showen

As you probably already know, I run a non-profit. This Friday we’re having our annual benefit concert to raise money and awareness for the building of our rehab center in Kenya.

I remember very vividly what it was like to have my Kenyan dad propose the building of the center and I remember how terrified I was at the thought.

Like this is gonna be huge, take a lot of money, and I was just scared. Thank goodness one of my friends (and now co-director of the non-profit, Shalee) had like a million more pounds of faith than I did and we went forward with it.

But even then, I still didn’t understand how I could fit into all of this. Sure, I had battled addiction in my life but how do I begin to tell people about this story? This rehabilitation story?

It wasn’t until I visited a rehab center in Kenya that I truly began to understand the narrative that God wanted us to tell.

When we first met with the director of this other center, he introduced himself as an addict, even though he hadn’t had a sip of alcohol or taken drugs in over 5 years.

He explained, “Addicts are addicts forever. By calling ourselves that even though we aren’t currently drinking or doing drugs, we are reminded of who we were, because at our core, that’s still who we are.”

Addicts are some really humble people. Addicts understand how much they’ve messed up and the pain they’ve caused. Usually that self awareness is what causes them to continue to be addicts. Being one myself, I can attest to this. We feel BIG and HARD. Sometimes so big and so hard that we have to shut out the world by running to our addictions. It hurts too much to feel. So we’d rather be numb.

But as we all know, feeling nothing is actually NOT better than feeling something. It leaves you lonely, scared, and empty.

Addicts understand all of this. So that’s why even addicts that have been clean and sober for 20 years still remember what it was all like. Because every day is a reminder and a choice that life is better. Truth is better. Feeling is better.

They understand their addiction and when their eyes are clean and sober, they understand life. Talking to them is my favorite thing in the world. It reminds me of just how beautiful redemption is.

To me, a rehab center is a really beautiful picture of the redemption that Christ brought to us. I absolutely believe that Christ washed me clean and I became a new person in Him but being aware of my sin doesn’t negate His work in my life, it celebrates it.

“But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom”

I could only know that he paid my ransom if I was aware of my debt.

My debt reminds me of my Creator. It reminds me of my life.

The past year has had so many ups and downs. I’ve been pretty transparent on the blog and the internet about my life, my struggles, and my pain.

I’m not sure that was always the wisest decision because people are very quick to judge and decide things about you. But that’s okay with me, decide away. I gave up a very long time ago trying to think that I am in control of what other people do and think.

But through all of this, I’ve learned that no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I will never stop being shamelessly vulernable. I will always tell the truth and I will always be free of anything anywhere close to guilt or shame.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

For me, I am a slave to what people think of me. But that’s not really realistic. None of us can control what other people do, we can barely control ourselves sometimes (example: I don’t have an off button when it comes to eating pizza).

I think a lot of us care much more about what others think that what we will ever admit. We want to be the best version of ourselves on social media and we often hold others to that standard as well. On the flip side, we also take things that we see and we dwindle down a person to that one post. We forget everything else about who they are, and we decide everything about them based on one thing that they do or one trial that they endure.

But people are much more than that. We are all worth so much more.

I don’t even know how to understand this past year. I mean seriously, it was truly a whirlwind of the craziest things in my entire life. Some parts were REALLY great and some were REALLY bad. And I remember in the middle of it, thinking “this cannot be happening to me.”

I run a non-profit, HOW could I question my faith? That was the question that hurt the most and still hurts the most. It was such a painful reminder of how life works. I truly had to walk through that to understand who I am and how to run the non-profit better. I had to walk away from a church I loved with all my heart to heal in a new place with new faces.

I know this is painful and probably strange for most of you. But isn’t that what the body of Christ is about, we can’t all be arms or legs right? Some of us are shoulders or toes or belly buttons. We all make up something beautiful and we all form differently.

So if you saw me this past year and you were confused or didn’t understand, well that’s okay…I didn’t either. But to me it’s not always about understanding, it’s about being honest.

But what I do what you to understand is that I will never be too christian/too put together/too anything to not be honest. Honesty is at my core. Shameless truthtelling is simply who I am at this point.

I don’t care if it embarrasses me or causes judgement but a Christianity that has to “look good” is not Christianity to me.

Life is hard. We are all broken. If that’s true why can’t we all be reminders of that for one another? Why can’t I look at you and simply say “me too.”

I love Jesus. I love how He has redeemed me and healed me. I love that even through all the pain that I’ve gone through this last year and how I desperately wanted to walk away, He never left my side. There was always a constant reminder of His love in my life.

And at the end of the day, that’s what I want our rehab center to be for people. I want to meet them where they are at. Right there in the middle of their addiction, I want them to know that we are with them. Because that’s what Jesus did for all of us. I want to make a place for them to be desperately honest about their pain and I want to look them square in the eyes and say, “me too.”

I think today we could all use a few extra doses of grace and love. Use everything you’ve got to show grace and love to those around you. We all mask the pain that we’re going through but grace and love break down those walls and they make a free space for our pain.

I want to always create a space for our pain to be free. Your pain is allowed. Your truth is yours and it’s valid and it’s worthy. Tell it shamelessly and tell it often.

Thanks for listening, friends.

Crissy

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Rest well, Grandma.

I think death is painful for many reasons but one of the biggest is it’s finality.

It puts a period where our human brains can only understand a comma. We don’t compute something ending forever.

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When we say goodbye to people, we don’t understand never seeing them again. When we hang up the phone, we don’t anticipate that their voice might never come across our ears once more. When we hug someone tightly, we don’t imagine never feeling their warmth around us again.

It’s Wednesday night/Thursday morning and I cannot sleep. My grandma took her final breaths on Sunday. My heart feels so unsure, so confused, so sad. It wasn’t her time and yet it was.

That’s the thing about death, it doesn’t wait for you to be ready. Because you’ll never be ready. You are never ready to let go of somebody.

1917444_1307611934109_6242854_nEveryone always says “I just wish I could hug them one more time.” But that hug wouldn’t do it, you know? Even if you saw them one more time, that would only comfort you in that moment. In the next moment, the pain would be there. Again. Fresh. Deep.

I once heard death described as feeling like a really bad dream that you have and when you wake up, there’s those few moments when you can’t differentiate between reality and dreaming…so you think that maybe this death was a dream, just a really bad dream. But when you come to, the pain of it all comes in again. And it stings all over again. Every day you have to wake up and live without this person that you weren’t supposed to live without.

You shouldn’t ever have to live without your people. They are yours, dangit. Death reminds you of all the moments stolen from you now that your people are gone. Moments that you’ll never get because death took them before you were ready.

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It really freaking sucks. Can we all agree? Death is the worst and it sucks. There is literally nothing that can make that hole in your heart feel better. It’s truly the most unfair thing.

I miss her so much.

I think that’s the other thing about death. There’s no way to prepare for it. No one ever tells you how to do that. No one ever tells you how to miss people you’ll never see again.

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I don’t even know how to tell you what to do. This blog isn’t going to have any advice. I’m not even sure what purpose it will serve. I just really miss my grandma and I don’t even know what to do about it. So I’m writing. That’s how I work through my pain.

She really was a fantastically wonderful woman.

I read through her Bible today. Her hand writing, her words, her prayers, her heart…it was all there just bursting open for me to read. Her sweet moments with her Savior, I got a little peek into what stirred her heart. I got to know her. Her underlines, her little scribbles, even little dates written in on specific verses.

I can’t hear her voice anymore but I can read her words.

Maybe that’s how we learn to get through life without our people. We just keep loving them and learning from them in any way we can.

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My grandma’s physical presence in my life is something that I will never get back. I will always miss it. But I don’t have to miss her heart, her strength, her spirit. All of those things live in my mom and her brothers and sisters, they live in my sister, and they live in me. Her legacy is ours now.

The pain that exists in this moment only tells of the wonderful person we had the honor of loving.

What an honor it was to love her and to be loved by her.

I can’t believe that I was deemed worthy of being her granddaughter.

I will never stop missing her and I don’t ever want to stop missing her. She changed my life. She made me a better person by caring for me, she showed me just how much someone could love. She always knew how to make me laugh and she never missed an opportunity to tell me how proud of me she was.

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But still my favorite story is one from the year before last. I attended a wedding in Tyler, where she was living, so I went to see her for a little bit before I headed back to Dallas. She asked me, “Crissy, you go to ALL these weddings, when I am going to come to your wedding?” and I replied, “Well, I have a wedding that I’m a bridesmaid for in November, maybe there will be some cute groomsmen or something.” I said this as a joke, I mean there were gonna be cute guys there but I just said it to change the subject.

Well 3 months later, I get a message the day of the wedding from my grandma. It reads, “Hey! I remember you’re supposed to meet someone special tonight, keep me updated.”

She remembered. I laughed for so long about that. Her and my mom were always trying to get me married. It used to make me insecure, like what the heck, I’m not good enough the way I am? But now I see it. She truly thought so highly of me and loved me so much that she didn’t understand how I could possibly be single. That’s really such a sweet compliment.

It’s so funny how something that was so silly to me then is so sweet to me now. All memories I have of her will now be dripping with mixtures of love and sadness because of their finality. They’ll become fuzzy and my heart will learn to heal. But I’ll never stop missing her. Earth will always feel emptier without her here.

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I don’t have any grandparents left. She was the last one. I wish I had done more to show her how much she meant to me. I wish I had said, “I love you” about a million more times. I wish I had hugged her and kissed her and sent her flowers and wine every day. I wish I would have been better. I wish I would have been more for her. I wish my stupid selfish human heart would have realized this so much sooner. I wish so many things.

But wishing won’t bring her back.

Life moves whether we want it to or not. I cannot change the past. I can only change how I act in the future. I can be better for her.

I can walk in love for her. I can walk in strength for her. I can walk in grace for her.

If the past 4 days have shown me anything, it’s how much my family and I are loved. It’s reminded just how freaking incredible people are. I have had no less than 200 people reach out to me via social media, texting, calling, etc. just to express their sincere sorrow, their love for my family and I, and in the truest way, all of them said, “Let me know what I can do for you, I am here for you.”

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In my deepest sorrow, in my deepest pain, I am reminded of the good that exists in the world. I am reminded that even in the darkest of valleys, light will always find it’s way.

Finally, I am reminded that I have the power to be the love that I want to exist. A twist on Ghandi’s quote, yes. Because I don’t just want change. I want love. For everyone. Everywhere. My grandma has reminded me of the power that love has on even the hardest of hearts. How it softens, how it soothes, and how it heals.

Love truly does conquer all.

Thank you, Grandma. Thank you for showing us that it really is okay to fight for everyone else, even if it makes your life harder. Thank you for showing us that love takes many forms. Thank you for showing us that showing up for your people is painful and hard but we should do it anyways. Thank you for showing us how to never give up. Thank you for showing us how to always see the good in people, even when nobody else sees it. Thank you for showing us what a lifetime of love looks like. Thank you for loving us, Grandma. You did so well. You loved your people in the most beautiful way. Thank you for teaching us how to be a family. You made us all what we are. Rest well, Grandma.

I love you.

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To my momma.

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This mother’s day is a really cool one.

I’ve officially been out of my parents house for a little over a year. Technically I was out of their house when I was in college but let’s be real, they paid all my bills.

So now, I’m a big poor adult with a car payment and rent and bills.

How did I get here? I don’t mean existentially.

I mean seriously, HOW did I become 25 years old and financially independent? When in the world did I become a grown up?

My mom.

This blog is for my mom.

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As long as I can remember, my mom has been in every part of my life (whether I liked it or not).

I still remember being at gymnastic practice when I was 4. I had mastered the balance beam. Well I had mastered jumping off the balance beam onto a foam mat. One of my proudest moments. My mom was there.

She was at every single piano lesson, gymnastic practice, and dance practice that I ever had.

The recitals, performances, and games were normal for parents to attend but my mom insisted on being there for every single moment. She never missed any moment of my life.

When my sister and I were 5 and 10, my mom was getting her bachelors degree while working full time as a teacher. During summer, she would take us to the waterpark, the movies, and to putt putt and she would study while we played. She was always there. For everything.

The first time I had my heart broken was in the spring of 8th grade. I tried out for the high school drill team and I didn’t make it. To say I was devastated is putting it lightly.

But my freshman year, my mom and I decided that we would do everything possible for me to make it. So I took gymnastic lessons (to get stronger), she got me a membership at curves (to lose weight), and she enrolled me in multiple dance classes as well as hiring a private dance teacher to critique me during tryouts.

And you bet your ass she was at every single lesson that year. One of the rooms had the smallest window ever but I knew that I every time I looked over, I would see her smiling face. She never read a book or listened to music, she watched every practice, the whole time.

That year, tryouts were terrifying for me. I worked so hard but I kept thinking “what if?” What if I don’t make it, again?

She just kept reminding me, “No matter what happens, it will be okay. You will either tryout again or you won’t. It will be okay.”

She bought me a new leotard, she did my hair, and she prayed over me. And I’m pretty sure she tried to watch me during tryouts even though they put paper over the windows. She’s persistent, what can I say?

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Well if you know me, you know that I made it that year. And I cried. A lot. Through high school she continued to be my biggest cheerleader. I was in like way to many clubs and organizations but she came to everything. She never missed a celebration.

My mom never missed a moment to show us how much she loved us. My sister played softball in high school and literally all my elementary memories are filled with Heather’s games, Heather’s parties, and Heather’s friends. We were always together. If one of us was doing something, we were always doing it.

My mom was so good about that. Making sure we always supported each other.

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I think it’s easy to see the bad in people. To get frustrated with the world and all the negative. But in an almost annoying way, my mom is so quick to remind me of the good. To remind me of the love that can exist. Simply because of who she is. Ask any of her students or colleagues, the woman is loved by so many.

All I have is stories of her strength and the way she loved me. Over and over again.

When I was 18, I was in a really bad car accident. I broke my collarbone and I had to have surgery to repair it. She slept in the same room with me for two weeks straight while I healed, so she could give me medicine every 4 hours. Every time I woke up, she was there – she helped me do everything. She sacrificed her comfort, her time, and everything else in her life just to make sure that I was okay. And in that moment I realized, that’s what she had been doing my entire life.

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The first time I went to Kenya, I found out a month before that I was going. I didn’t even ask my mom, I just told her (I know, smooth.) You know what she did? She made appointments that weekend for my shots & my passport. Since that time, every time I’ve gone to Kenya, she has come to the airport, picked me up from the airport, and made sure to call me about 20 times a day while I’m there.

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She has always fought for me and supported me in ways that I can’t even begin to imagine. She loves me in a way that no one ever will and no one ever can. She inspires me to be better, do better, and love better. She recently received her doctorate and words can’t explain how proud I am of her.

She has spent almost my entire life in school and to see her do this, to finish this huge accomplishment, it’s such a reminder of how thankful I am to have her as an example.

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If anyone believes the stereotype that women are “weak” or “too dainty.” I’d like to introduce you to my mother. Who raised two daughters while working full time, while getting her bachelor’s & masters degrees. And who now was working as a principle full time and got a doctorate in education. My mother who has never had anything handed to her but has fought for every moment of her life. My mother who was told many times that she “couldn’t do that” or “wouldn’t ever finish that” but in fact has done so much more and finished so much more than she probably ever thought possible.

Her favorite quote is “it’s never to late to be what you might have been” by George Elliot. She definitely embodies that in every sense of the word. There is nothing that she cannot do, I am sure of that. And because of her tenacity, her strength, and her courage, I know that there is nothing I cannot do either.

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Thank you for always loving Heather and I so fiercely, for always fighting for us, and for always supporting us. I am so thankful that you’re my mom. Happy Mother’s Day.

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xo,

Crissy

And grace, my fears relieved.

“Continue to share your heart with people even if it’s been broken.” – Amy Poehler

I have to be honest, apologetic even. I often forget who clicks on my facebook, checks my twitter, or watches my life on social media. I’m aware of who I interact with but I don’t always realize what everyone else sees.

Regardless of what is shown to us on social media – we only get a part of the story. And the part we get is often a dressed up, much prettier version of the actual story. So we’re never getting any real truth.

That’s why I don’t take social media so seriously. I use it as outlet for art sometimes, humor other times, and sometimes to stalk my favorite celebrities (you know you do it too). I very rarely take what other people post seriously because social media is easy. It’s easy to post a tweet in anger, a picture in distress, or a face book rant. Social media is quick, not always thought out, and very accessible.

This means that not everyone is ignorant or maybe intelligent (lol) as they seem on facebook, as happy as they as seem on instagram, or as depressed as they might be on twitter.

I’m saying all this because more people than I would like seem to care what’s going on in my life. And while I am honored to have your thoughts, very often it feels much more like gossip and much less like empathy. If you are the latter, forgive me. I’m posting this blog to be honest with the world today. As honest as I can be. Words are my thing. I’m a processor. It’s taken me months to realize that I needed to write this. So…bear with me.

First of all – these past 6 months have been an insane journey for me. In the most beautiful & heartbreaking way. I’ve been a Christian my entire life. I’ve gone up and down in what I believed and theology and I’ve questioned. But in October, I really started to question. I never questioned Jesus because for me, I trusted that part of Christianity. I knew Christ was real and I felt His compelling love in every moment of my life. But I began to struggle with the way that the church treats so many people.  The marginalized have always been near and dear to me. People who are forgotten – orphans, widows, people in poverty – those people are MY people. I love them. But then it went even further. The more the marginalized, the more my heart beat for them. In america this looks like women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. I wanted to scoop every single person up and hug them like they’ve never been hugged before. I saw so many “Christians” treating these people with cruelty and I truly didn’t understand how people could love God but hate His creations?

It was a tough road…that lead to me questioning almost everything. It was foggy. It was confusing. And it was just..sad. Everything that I had always loved, trusted, and put my hope in…was really starting to feel like a ghost. Songs lost their meaning and I started to drift off during sermons. I wasn’t trying to find an excuse to walk away from Christianity, I wasn’t trying to find an excuse to “sin”, and I sure as heck wasn’t trying to find a “feel good faith.”

I was just trying to understand how loving people could be the cause of so much destruction. It was incredibly painful. I didn’t know what to do.

And in my questioning came other Christians. Some of them, my best friends – were truly the most loving & caring & supporting people I have ever known. My sister, Genna, Nicole, Morgan, & Heather – you guys deserve actual medals for the way that you loved me. I’m sure I was annoying but I have never felt so much grace, patience, and love, than I did through that time. 

But then there was the gossip & assumptions. Man that sucked. There is truly no other word. I wasn’t trying to walk away from Jesus EVER – I was trying to find Him. In every moment of that faith shift, I was just asking questions. But I was treated much worse.

Lately there’s been an article circulating about why “progressive/liberal Christianity” is twisting the gospel.

The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. That Christ himself came and died on the cross so that we might have ever lasting life. The gospel is the news of CHRIST’S LOVE for us.

If that’s true, then the liberals must be saying something different.

But THEY’RE NOT. Every “liberal” or progressive Christian I know would never doubt Christ’s love. They love Him & worship Him & they are trying to honor him like everyone else. They are not trying to give people a “feel good” Christianity. Most liberals I know are actually much more conservative than me, like WAYYYYYYY more traditional than I am. But they push for gender equality & gay people so they must be going straight to hell.

Do we understand the narrative that we’re telling here, Christians?

We are telling people that if they think differently than we do, that if they interpret parts of Scripture differently – that they are not worthy of respect, love, or grace.

Why would anyone who doesn’t believe in God…trust us? LOOK HOW WE TREAT OUR OWN PEOPLE. 

I included this part because I think people are doubting who I am because I started to research my faith and what I believed. I think people don’t think I’m worthy anymore. I think people don’t think I love Jesus anymore.

Quite the opposite actually. I worship my Savior more than before now. Yes, church is still scary and stressful for me but I’m working my way through those waters. I’m finding a safe place, a place that welcomes questions with grace and love. 

Yes, I questioned the God of the universe. I think God has questions under control. I researched, I read books, blogs, etc. I listened to sermons, podcasts, TEDtalks, everything. I talked to people on both sides of every argument. I soaked up everything I could to calm my fears. But you want to know what calmed my heart the most?

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Sometimes you just need to take it old school. I still have questions and I might have those forever. That’s okay. Grace will lead me home.

I want you to know that I love Jesus. But I also understand that if you’re going through a faith shift or questioning, it’s okay if you don’t. It’s okay if you think this whole blog is stupid and that faith is stupid and why would anyone go to church.

I want you to know that I love Jesus. But I also understand if you don’t agree with me. If you are very conservative and you don’t think that my opinions matter. That’s okay too.

You know why? Because if I want people to have grace for me, I must have grace for them. 

The past 6 months were so scary for me. I was worried a lot. But I found myself in them too. I found my purpose, my truth, and my hope in those months. My story was written in those few months. 

I have so many friends from so many different walks of life now. Thanks to social media (vine shoutout), I have Jewish friends, athiest friends, Muslim friends, agnostic friends, conservative friends, liberal friends, LGBTQ friends, friends from literally all walks of life. And they all have beautiful stories to tell. I hope I never let what I believe get in the way of loving people different from me and I hope that you won’t either.

This is the longest blog I’ve ever posted. If you made it this far, good job. Haha. If you have any questions about me or my life, I’m a very open book – feel free to message me or meet me for coffee. Trust me when I say, that’s much better than assuming something on the internet.

Stalking is creepy & weird – let’s not do that anymore.

Loving is hard & beautiful – let’s do that a lot more.

This period taught me to love more fiercely than I ever have before. Regardless if you agree with me or not, I don’t care who you are…I love you and I’m going to keep telling you that until you believe it. 

Thanks for reading,

Crissy

Inches.

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I did a weight loss program where you got “5 pound stars” – so with every 5 pounds loss, you got a sticker to signify your weight loss. You got stickers and keychains for the big things too, you know 10% of weight lost, 25 pounds, etc. but it was very important to them that you celebrated every single part of your journey. Even the small ones.

I think it’s time we start doing that with our healing.

Often times our healing feels and looks like a marathon. You want time to pass but you also don’t understand how you will EVER be over this thing.

Each day is easier (sometimes) but goodness gracious, how many days will there be? And in those moments of looking back, we’ve barely inched. WE’VE BARELY HEALED.

What the heck, soul? Come on.

But I think it’s time we start celebrating every damn inch.

Because one day all those inches will add up to a whole freaking marathon. And look at you, YOU DID IT! You’ve moved a whole inch today. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU.

Every single moment of healing is monumental and important deserves to be celebrated. You deserve to be celebrated.

In that same weight loss program, they taught us that people who lose weight quickly are more likely to gain that weight back. People who lost slower understood the struggle of weight loss and therefore appreciated it so much more. They understood the true journey that had gotten to them to where they were.

Healing is brutal. But also beautiful. It’s messy. It’s scary. It’s just so many things. Healing means walking away from so much.

When you heal you have to walk away from the bad things that happened to you and the good that happened to you. You have all these memories and all these things tied up in this person or situation and you have to walk away from it all. But it’s so worth it.

The good memories will always be there but they won’t be the ties that bind you anymore.

When you heal you will finally understand freedom. You will finally be able to think about the good times without wanting that person back, you will finally be able to trust people again, and best of all – you will finally be able to love yourself again.

Healing is so wonderful. Scary as hell, ya’ll. But wonderful.

If you moved an inch or even a centimeter today, you deserve a medal. A gold one. That’s huge and beautiful and here’s a podium where we are all clapping for you.

Celebrate every damn inch.

Love,

Crissy

Stop and smell the roses.

I think it’s important to end every year on a good note even if you feel like it’s been a rough year. In my mind, finding the good in the past 12 months will help silence the negativity.

So I hope you don’t see this post as a “look how awesome my life is” – cause many many MANY times this year, I did not feel awesome. Today’s post will be a reminder to myself of all the good that is in my life.

These are not in order of importance, by the way. They are all wonderful and equally awesome.

10. Friggin travel. Man travel gets my heart going.  This year I got to go to Kenya (twice), Florida, Chicago, and a cruise with my fam.


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9. This year some of the greatest people I know and myself started a non-profit and we took our first team of 16 people to Kenya this year. That was a tenderness I can’t even begin to explain.

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8. We started building the rehab center that my Kenyan dad dreamed up two years ago. This deserves 20 million blogs.

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7. Got to do makeup almost every single weekend in the spring. When I started doing makeup artistry a year and a half ago, I had no idea that it would take off the way that it has. I love my brides, my clients, and everything about being a makeup artist.

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6. Part of going to Kenya included going to Kenya with my best friend and her husband. My heart was melting the whole time. Growing up you don’t know the people that are going to be in your life forever until time passes and they are still there. REALLY thankful for these wonderful human beings. This year they have been better friends to me than I could ever ask or hope.

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5. MOVED IN WITH HOOI. Nicole & I went to high school together and we both were ready to move out so we moved in with one another. Living with Nicole has been absolutely incredible. She deserves her own blog post. Her grace, her servant heart, and her loving attitude has been such a breath of fresh air for me. I know it has not been easy to live with me (I’m strong willed, opinionated, neurotic, and just weird sometimes) but she encourages me so well. She is truly such a wonderful human. I couldn’t ask for a better roommate.

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4. Well I sort of fell down this year. And then crawled my way back up. I’m not going to say got back up because I’m not up yet. But I’m not down anymore and that’s really encouraging. I’ve experienced faith in a new way this year. I’ve seen many different perspectives and encountered people that do faith differently. It’s been SO refreshing and eye opening and just really dang cool. Made me super thankful for the internet and community and people that are humble.

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3. Got my heart broken. By a guy, by my friends, and by my faith. This kind of goes with number 4 but it deserves it’s own. This year was the first year that a lot of bad things happened to me. It was super weird and super overwhelming but it reminded me of life. It reminded me that suffering can sometime push us to joy. That bad things have to happen sometimes for us to see the good. It gave me perspectacles (a momastery word). As Viktor Frankl would say, “What is to give light must endure burning.”

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2. Turned 25. With people I’ve known for 10 years, 5 years, and a couple years. My best friends have stuck with me through so much and I have never felt so much love on a birthday in my whole life. I am so thankful for my people.

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1. Celebrated love. This year my friends got married, had babies, moved out, got jobs, got into medical school, started organizations, invented things, wrote books, KEPT LIVING LIFE EVEN THOUGH IT’S REALLY HARD – they did so many things that they’ve wanted to do for so long and I  got to witness it all. How beautiful that we all get to do life together.

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This is a little late since it’s the middle of January but who the hell cares? Celebrating is always important to me.

Happy New Year – make your own list and celebrate your life this year!

Love,

Crissy

The past.

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I really hate social media sometimes. 

I’ve said that before and I’ll say it again.

Today I hate it because right when I’m done thinking about someone, when I’m really starting to get over him…he likes a post. That little notification makes my heart cringe.

Cringe because I wanted him to like ME, not a picture I post on the internet. For so long, I wanted his affirmation that now only comes through a screen. So impersonal. It’s so easy to click “like” – it’s the opposite of real, true attention and affirmation.

And it’s not real. None of it was real. And that “like”, that “like” that probably seems harmless to him, it takes my breath away.

And not in that Disney movie kind of way. It’s like when you’re on the monkey bars, full of adrenaline and hope and excitement and then you fall. And you land on your chest. And for a moment you are sure that you are going to die. The breath is literally knocked out of you, for a moment your lungs forget what to do. But then as if nothing happened, your breath returns and you can walk again. You are okay.

So it’s like that for me today. It knocked the wind of out of me. But it did not kill me. Which I think know is progress. I didn’t click on his profile. I chose not to linger on something that is not there.

The past is there for a reason. A lot of people compare breaking up with someone as that person dying. Often when people die, other people try to find answers and a meaning for their death, it helps with the grief I guess. But finding answers won’t make that person any less dead.

In the same way, looking back at the past won’t make it any less of the past. It is behind you and it’s not coming back. 

We look to the past for answers that are not there anymore. Their context simply does not apply to today. Take if we were studying science – for example, an answer from 1900 would not be the solution to a question today. Because times have changed. Life is different now. The 1900 answer would only be correct in 1900.

Our lives don’t always look the same. We cannot go back and look for something that we will never find. We cannot find it because we are not in that place anymore. 

For so long, I thought something would change and I wanted answers. And now, months later, I have my answer. It didn’t come from his words. His lack of words gave me everything I needed to know. 

Most people need some closure for their brains to tell them to move on…well honey, this is me giving you closure. It’s been months. Time has passed on. You’re not going to get an answer out of him or her and you’re not going to know all the reasons why it didn’t work out. At least not today. These months of silence? These months are your answer.

Sometimes we think that life might be different if it had worked out, that’s true – life might be different. But if we spend all of our time picturing what our life could be, we will miss what our life is.

Our lives are good. Our lives are full. Our lives are beautiful.

They are also scary and frustrating and messy.

But damn, they are beautiful.

The past happened. He happened. It’s okay. He’s not in control of you anymore. Keep telling yourself that until you believe it.

Time heals all. If you’re still hurting, that’s okay. Give yourself time and grace.

Healing is coming, I promise.

Love,

Crissy

Hope.

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“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.” — Robert Jordan

If you’ve read anything I’ve written over the past couple of months, it’s not a surprise that I resonate with a quote like this. Life has been hard but isn’t that the truth for everyone? I’ve been writing through all of that tough stuff and it’s been liberating and freeing and also really scary.

So you’ll understand why this quote spoke to me. It reminded me that we have the power to choose if we’re going to drown or not. We don’t have to stay in the water. We don’t have to stay in the scary place.

But sometimes it doesn’t feel like a choice, right? The pain, the sadness – it feels inescapable. 

When we start to let the light in, it hurts too bad. Our place while painful, becomes our new normal. 

Sometimes our heartbreak, our pain, our hurts – they seem so big that they feel like they will never go away. The turmoil of life and moving forward isn’t even an option. It’s all just…too much.

Enter hope. 

Hope comes in when everything else goes out. My girl Emily Dickinson describes it best.

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson

Hope reminds us of a future unseen. That even if everything is falling apart, that it won’t fall apart forever. Hope is the sunrise of a new day. A fresh start.

Hope is healing.

“Hope is only thing stronger than fear.” – Suzanne Collins

In these moments of darkness – know that you have hope. You will have to choose hope at first, you won’t want to trust it because so many other things have broken you. But keep choosing hope. Keep choosing that one day, you’ll be able to be you again.

It won’t be soon and it won’t be easy, but you will find your way back. You will heal.

I’ve learned that I’m not okay but I finally believe that I will be.

I couldn’t have written that three months ago. Or even a month ago. I truly didn’t see the end in sight. I accepted my place as my place forever. The tears, the fog, the isolation – I began to make my little home there. When someone would tell me “time heals all” I just pleaded with God to make time move faster. Every moment was a reminder of my pain and I just didn’t see an outcome. Good or bad. I couldn’t see where this was going.

But today I do. Today I finally believe in getting out of the water and choosing not to drown. I’m still wet and cold and scared but I’m getting out of the water. I’m here to tell you that you will eventually be able to get out of the water.

And maybe that’s all I needed to believe to get out. That one day I would eventually get out. And maybe that’s all we all need. To just believe in the belief of being okay even if we aren’t.

That’s the beauty of all this. I don’t have to be okay right now- I just have to trust in the hope enough to know that one day, the light will be back and I’ll feel like me again. 

Trust the process. Trust yourself. Trust hope. 

xo,

Crissy

On having it all together.

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“Sometimes people that are not okay look a lot like people that are.”

Glennon Melton (told ya’ll I was obsessed)

I’m starting to get this weird feeling.

This feeling that nobody really knows me.

I feel like such a fraud.

BECAUSE I AM A FRAUD.

I love writing through my pain and connecting with people but I very methodically dance around my actual life in order to not freak people out.

Like I can tell people what I’m feeling and how I’m coping without actually sharing the dirty details of my sorted adventures. Sometimes this is important. Sometimes I need to heal and work through my bad decisions and that does not mean telling you about them.

But sometimes it feels a little fake.

Because you guys see this girl who runs a non profit and goes to Kenya and loves little chocolate babies.

Or you see this girl who does makeup and must know everything about beauty.

Or you see this loud confident girl who just LOVES life and thinks of hilarious instagram captions (okay maybe only I think they are funny).

Or whatever you see I’m afraid that none of it is true.

I am supposed to be this girl and I should have it all together.

I mean my life IS AWESOME. Just not because of me.

I do run a non-profit (with like a billion other volunteers/board members/incredible humans) and I am recklessly in love with my Kenyan family. They love people better than anyone I’ve ever met and they understand faith in a way I’ve never seen before. THEY are the reason that anything we do works. 

While I don’t know everything about beauty, I do enjoy learning. I love to learn about different types of beauty, color theory, and make up – it’s not vain to me. It’s just fun. I didn’t make these things up – you know how I learned all I know about makeup? Freaking Youtube. You could be just as good as me if you have an internet connection.

And if you think I have it all together, you haven’t read one word I’ve ever written. I am a sobbing, neurotic, dramatic mess.

I have a lot of things to be proud of and thankful for.

And yet, I still fell. Everything around me still came crumbling down. I’m not sure how and I’m not even sure when it happened but it did. My whole entire faith fell apart.

Everything I believed in just fell. Nothing made sense and all of it hurt. The verses, the songs, the religion I had known for so long – it all felt numb to me. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make myself believe it anymore.

For me, it was my faith that fell apart. Maybe for you it’s something else – your job, your relationship, whatever. Sometimes we are so tied up in what we are trying to make our lives look like that we forget what they actually are.

So I did what any normal and slightly addict prone person would do – I tried to find validation and worth in literally any other source. Alcohol, men, whatever. Pretty much anything because feeling this weight of guilt & shame from leaving my faith was too much. It hurt too bad.

I was not the same girl I used to be. I was different. I couldn’t unfeel and unsee all the injustice that I was witnessing. And I couldn’t make a case for the church – they were the ones causing the pain and my heart hurt too bad.

I had to become numb. Alcohol numbs your inhibitions. The attention of men numbs your loneliness. Anything to make those large, loud feelings of mine shut up and go away.

I just wanted to be numb. I’m a feeler. A big feeler. I am zero or and I am one hundred. Most of the time it’s one hundred. So when everything feels like too much, I have to shut it up. Addicts understand. Our addictions help us not feel.

I want you guys to know that before all of this – I LOOKED REALLY FREAKING OKAY. I went to work, I hung out with my friends, I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. I’m sure if you looked at my facebook, life seemed wonderful. I made sure that my life seemed wonderful. I made sure that I looked okay.

But I wasn’t. I was desperately lonely, I had painful questions about religion, and I was incredibly low. Just low. Not sure about what or why but I was.

All of these demons came to pass in one fail swoop. A few months ago, everything came crashing down. I realized that everything in my life was what I was DOING but not actually who I was. It took me so long to start to even feel like myself again..but like I said, I’m not the girl I used to be.

And I think that’s okay. I don’t have myself on a pedestal anymore. I thought that I wasn’t allowed to struggle because I ran a non-profit or because I was a Christian or because I did so many okay-persony things. That because I had seen Jesus be so good in my life that I wasn’t allowed to question my faith or my life or anything.

I THOUGHT SO MANY THINGS.

The gospel  cleansed me and healed me and redeemed me AND THEN I THREW IT ALL AWAY.

YOU KNOW WHY?

Because the gospel cleansed me and healed and redeemed me before I even knew how much of I screw up I would become.

A lot of times as Christians we think our lives are whole after we accept Christ. That once we accept Jesus that we won’t ever question or struggle or whatever again.

That’s a load of crap.

WE ARE HUMANS, YOU GUYS. We are literally hard wired to mess ourselves up.

We just have to be human enough to ask for help.

That’s where I failed. Because I thought I was too good to fail. Too good to question Jesus and the bible and God. You guys, God is a pretty awesome guy or gal or whatever (I hate putting gender roles on God, God is too cool for that) and I think that God is big enough to handle our questions.

The church? Yeah I’ve got issues with a lot of the things that religious people do but that’s okay because I’m learning that those people are humans too.

And if I want grace then I have to give grace too.

I just wrote this because I want you to know that sometimes people who are not okay look a lot like people that are. That I hid my addictions, my doubts, and my fears underneath this layer of OKAYNESS and that it was all bullshit.

I wasn’t okay. And I’m still not okay. But I feel free enough to talk about it now.

I want you to know that if you were a Christian and now you are not and now life is weird and you’re not really sure what you are then that’s okay too. That sometimes we think we have to look all perfect and be all great and that’s just a load of crap. You are wonderful and worthy and your reality is YOURS and it’s true. No one can tell that it’s not. If it’s hard, if it’s easy, whatever it is – own it and be honest about it. Don’t be too scared to admit that you’re not okay. 

Cause no one is okay. We’re all working through this messy life together and adding guilt on top of our mess is like way too much work. So stop all that.

I hope you give yourself some grace and know that no one is ever so well off to not fall of the train. We all fall off from time to time. Jesus knew that was gonna happen so He died on a cross for us and promised to unconditionally love us.

That’s pretty neat in my opinion.

Also if you’re reading this and you don’t believe in Jesus – you’re cool and you deserve love and respect because you’re a human being and I love you. We don’t have to share the same faith to recognize that life is hard and we need one another. If you’re struggling through something, that’s just fine and whatever it is, we’re here for you. Just know you don’t have to act like everything is perfect, it’s not and that’s life.

I’ll leave you with my favorite quote as of this week…

“If flowers can teach themselves how to bloom after winter passes, so can you.” — Noor Shirazie

You will bloom again.

Thanks for reading,

Crissy

Alone but together.

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“The thing to remember is if were all alone,
then were all together in that too.” –
P.S. I Love You 

Well now we’re here. It’s been enough time. Your friends are sick of hearing about this problem. You’re sick of hearing about this problem. You’re sick of thinking about him or her or them or whatever.

YOU SHOULD BE BETTER, DAMMIT.

But you’re not.

Why not? What isn’t working? Why can’t you move on?

How do you break the mopey, funky, sadness that is so encapsulating?

I don’t know.

Oh goodness, you wanted an answer didn’t you? I don’t have one. I don’t have an answer for you because I’m not out of it. I’m still not whole. I’m still not healed and I don’t know why.

I want to just go one day without thinking about it. I want to be my old self again. I WANT TO BE FRIGGIN FREE.

But for some damn reason I’m not. For some reason I’m still carrying these chains. I don’t have a ton of answers for you on how to heal. I only know what I do and somedays it works and somedays it doesn’t.

Exercising really helps. Like I said before, dancing really helps. Sometimes food helps (sorry).

People REALLY help. Talking about it with people who truly won’t get sick of you are really important. Cause I am the most obsessive person I know and I’m not great at letting things go. Maybe ceremonial burning of clothes or a diary or something? That seems like it would help.

Understanding your worth is what I’m working on the most. Because maybe if I know that I can be whole on my own, I won’t feel so empty anymore. Maybe if I can understand that I have the power to steer my future, I won’t feel so helpless in what happens to me.

But right now I’m smiling when I feel like it and not smiling when I don’t feel like it. I think it’s important not to fake it or act like I’m something I’m not. I still feel angry and bitter and lonely and sad and all of those negative things. I still don’t feel better yet. But I WANT TO BE BETTER.

Sometimes I think that there is this better version of myself out there and I’m missing out on her.

But what if this version of me is just fine? What if hurting me is just as beautiful as not hurting me? What if I am whole even if I don’t realize it?

The sadness, the anger, the pain – what if it’s a part of me and that’s who I am right now and that truth is enough?

Right now, those feelings are my truth and that’s just fine I think. Part of this journey has been sharing my heart with the internet and it’s been one of the best things ever.

Apparently I’m not the only one that’s hurting right now. I’ve gotten so many messages from people who feel the same way, people who have so much pain but couldn’t put it into words. And they weren’t looking for a perfect answer on how to get better, they were just looking for a ‘me too.’

So here I am. Me too. I’m with you. You’re not alone.

If you can’t get over someone or something, that’s okay, I can’t either. You’re not an idiot, you’re not weak, and you’re not broken. You are just you and this is the way that you are dealing with something.

That’s fine. Life will still be there when you’re ready to come back.

And all of us hurting will be here for you until you’re ready to face the world again.

None of you are alone. We’re all messy and broken and beautiful and it all works.

If you came here for an answer out of your funk, I’m sorry that you didn’t get one. All I can tell you is that life is never meant to be done alone so just don’t go through your funk alone. If you don’t have anyone, you have me. Message me, text me, whatever. Whatever you need, I got you. Sometimes you don’t need someone to tell you it will be better, or that they’re sorry for you, or some sappy speech. Sometimes you just want your pain validated because your pain is yours and it’s real and it sucks.

So I’m with you and all that stuff really sucks. I love you.

Also, you’ll get through this. I know it feels suffocating and it feels like YOU NEVER WILL but I promise that you will. Don’t give yourself a timeline for healing, we’re all different and we all work in our way. Just keep going.

Thanks for reading,

Crissy