I know, you’re all reading this thinking oh no, she’s all sad again, that explains why she’s starting this which such a sad and lonely picture from a sad song (Candles by Daughter in case you were wondering) – but I promise friends it’s hopefully not going to be as bad as it’s starting to look like. See, today was an unexpected Monday at home. It was a good Monday at home. I was given so many reasons to smile today, so many reasons to laugh and to feel loved. I felt alive today. So I’m not feeling all down-trodden and lonely. Just reflective, I guess.
See, I’m supposed to be back at uni now, ready to start a new job and a new year all at once, but a mix up of dates has left me here at home. And actually, I am so so glad I’m at home. I’ve always had a bit of trouble coming home for lots of different reasons. Not because I don’t want to come back, or I don’t want to see my family or be in this place that will always be home to me, nothing morbid like that at all – but when I left for university I was in a really crummy place. I left home feeling low and depressed and covered in all of the hurts and the pain from the onset of my depression and my diagnosis. I was feeling lost and sad and totally excited all at once. There was this image in the back of my head that, yes, I will get better at uni. This time next year, next summer, I’ll be all better. Goodbye sad Annie, hello future.
But it just didn’t happen like that.
If anything, it got way worse for a while before it even began to get better. Yeah, my first year at uni was INCREDIBLE, and I’m so certain that Jesus has some amazing things in store for me this year, no doubt about that, but it was still hard. But slowly but surely, home became a place where I would associate all of the bad things and all of the hurts. Now, I don’t want you to read this and think what on earth is her home life like – I’m not saying that – I’m literally just talking about the area. You know when you walk down a road and suddenly its like a flashback from the movie and all that heart-wrenching music starts to play? It’s been a bit like that, except without Celine Dion or whatever. I love the people here, I love my church, I love my family. I love home. But sometimes the areas and the streets and the restaurants just brought me back to a place from the past where I didn’t really fancy going back to. Know what I mean?
This summer I had a massive struggle with this. I’ve been lower than I’ve been for a while this summer, again, not because of the people but because of these memories cropping up and cascading back into view. The worst bit of it all is that I gave hardly any of it to Jesus until it was almost too late (it’s never too late for Jesus, but you know what I mean) and so I’ve felt alone and lost and the depression got the better of me; lies became truths and negatives became everything. It was relentless, and like seeing the Annie from the past. I thought I said goodbye to her?
So I’m sitting here tonight and I was listening to the song by Daughter up there. And the thing is, I felt like that. All of that hurt and all of that crap? I learnt from that. I took stuff from that and I had to deal with some serious stuff from that. And to be honest with you guys, it’s only since being away at uni I’ve learnt to let go of some of that stuff and lay it before Jesus at the foot of that amazing cross. Coming home felt like coming back to that stuff, especially this summer, for whatever reason and those who’ve had to spend time with me have been absolute BABES and have looked after me in the best and most beautiful way (thank you ♥) – and don’t get me wrong, God has done AWESOME stuff this summer, but I’m getting to that bit, promise.
After feeling like the lady singing this song, and looking back on all of the rubbish, I sit here and I realise that all of the stuff I wanted to achieve this summer I didn’t get round to at all. I was so forward thinking at the beginning and if anything I feel like I’ve taken some massive step back. I had a little list, well, really little I guess – to come out of my overdraft and to lose weight so I looked fab for uni this term. Both things I didn’t do – and both things I’m feeling fairly confident and calm about (see, told you God had done some cool stuff ;))
ANYWAY, my list didn’t exactly consist of super-godly things and I didn’t even give these things to God. I guess, looking on it, no wonder I felt like I was stepping back into the past when I didn’t take the God of my future with me this summer. I left Jesus behind, I forgot about Him, I tried to do this whole thing without Him. And yeah, I’ve written some posts this holiday about Him and how good He is and that doesn’t change just because I’m not totally in that holy-Joe mode where everything is just golden and angelic, but I know I could have tried a bit harder with God this summer. But I guess, who couldn’t have, eh?
This week God has taught me a lot about forgiveness and letting go, and not in one of those fall on the floor Holy Spirit moments, but in the quiet and in those times where it’s just me and it’s just Him. In the arms of my best friend as I sobbed because I felt so far away, in the quiet of my sleep where I wondered where He was. And the truth of it all? He was there all along. He was there in the tears and in those moments of hate and of wanting and despair, or depression and deep sadness. He was there when I thought He had abandoned me, and when I opened that door to the past I know now He was desperately trying to shut it.
I have better things for you, Annie. I have a brighter future, better plans. I’ve got this, okay?
Jeremiah 29:11 anyone?
I’m saying all over again, yes Jesus, I do trust you.
So there it is. I’m not all too sure what else to type. It’s not been the perfect summer, but there have been moments of perfection within it. Moments where God forgave me for walking away, like the prodigal son (/daughter #equality) and he’s holding his arms out to me even as I type this. Moments where I decided my way was better and leafing through the past was better than embracing Jesus’ plans for me and those around me. Moments where I acted like the sad girl who’s only mantra were those poetic words at the top of this instead of those of Jesus’ hope. Working through emotions is great, but you know what’s even better? Working those through with Jesus.
So here’s to second year. Here’s to next summer. Here’s to my future – with true love, with hope, with Jesus.
Peace and blessings x