People change. Schools change. Homes change.

"My nails hit the clean white desk and the little chip on my ring finger nail catches my eye. Nothing screams stress like a small but mighty imperfection derived directly from my anxiety-ridden nail biting habit.

My brain feels like it has way too many tabs open. My heart feels like it misses a place to call home. I am stuck holding on to something that is no longer there.

I click the home button on my jet-black iPhone again, and then again once more. I search for something important to catch my eye, something to distract my already wandering mind. My pointer finger heads right back to that home button.

Disappointment…once again.

Messy clusters of thoughts flood my mind. I think of how terrible I am at saying hello to new people. I think of how I never quite liked the way my handwriting looks on paper. I think of how I am not good at math, or carrying heavy things, or sharing my feelings out loud. But one thing I sure am good at is missing something I can’t have back.

My nails hit the clean white desk once more and I am reminded again that things have changed. My room is now white, my bed is now smaller, my desk is now squeakier, and my home is now this entirely different place.

You prepare for this, you think, “change is good, and if it’s not good then it’s at least different right?” But you hold on to this little hope, or at least I do, that somehow change is not going to actually feel different, that you’ll lay in bed at night starting up at the old popcorn ceiling feeling the exact same way as before. And the truth is, you don’t.

I don’t have his arms to run to when I feel like I just need a hug. I don’t have mom’s apple pie and ice cream or dad’s sarcastic laugh. I don’t have my four-legged best friend to greet me at the door or to lick my tears as they run down my cheek.

It all sounds sad written next to each other like this but it’s not. It’s not sad. It’s just different, a sort of different that I didn’t prepare for.

I often wondered why I like photos so much, why I feel the need to capture everything. I have always been the girl who takes her camera everywhere and snaps shots of each thing she sees. I think now I have come to realize it’s because those photos don’t change. People change. Schools change. Homes change. Your whole life can change but those photos won’t.

So I sit here, my imperfect fingernails hitting my clean white desk, in my all white room, with my smaller bed and my squeakier desk, admiring my photos. My brain doesn’t feel as full anymore and my thoughts are no longer messy clusters. I still don’t have his arms to run to, or mom’s apple pie, or dad’s laugh, but at least I have these photos."

Xx

Gabriella

 

It has been one of the greatest and most difficult years of my life. I learned everything is temporary. Moments. Feelings. People. I learned love is about giving. Everything. And letting it hurt. I learned vulnerability is always the right choice because its easy to be cold in a world that makes it so very difficult to remain soft. I learned all things come in twos. Life and Death. Pain and Joy. Sugar and Salt. Me and You. It has been the year of hurting so bad but living so good. Making friends out of strangers. Making strangers out of friends. Learning that mint chocolate chip ice cream will fix just about everything. and for the pains it can't there will always be my mothers arms. We must learn to focus on the good. Always. For if we cant learn to be kinder to each other how will we learn to be kinder to the most desperate parts of ourselves. 

-Rupi Kaur

 

I have come to the conclusion that I love quotes so much because others seem to be able to understand how I feel even better than I can myself. This quote is my 2016 in a nutshell. I fell in love. I had my first heart break. I gained friends and I lost friends as well. I laughed. And boy, oh boy, did I cry. Things definitely did not go the way I had planned. But if I could go back and change one thing, I wouldn't. 

Its December 7th and...

I don't write much but I thought I'd share this bit from my day journal I keep.

Its December 7th and I'm sitting here on the plane. I pull out my phone, scroll through the typical apps. First instagram, then facebook, then on to pinterest. I flick through pages and come across the quote "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" written all sweet and simplistic like, with the daintiest of calligraphy, with a subtle cream - almost light pink - background. I scroll past, not thinking twice, but then I pause... "What doesn't kill you, makes your stronger"

I thought about this for some time. I thought about the things that have caused me pain and caused me hurt and caused me to feel so deeply that the world just seemed to pause. I then went on scrolling and came across these beautiful words by J. Raymond.

 

"They say, 'What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger' ... I don't agree. Some things that didn't kill me, came so close that they are still damaging. They didn't make me better. Some things made me worse. And can't that be okay too? Can't some things just break you? This whole world wants you to believe that admitting defeat makes you weak. But for goodness sake, its okay to bleed. And bleed openly. There is pride in vulnerability. Honesty is maturity. And really, its the things that did kill me, that made me."

 

I read this and chill went up my spine. I spent so much time hiding, fearful to admit the pain or really just the overwhelming emotions that I was feeling. I was failing to see that there is, always, pride in vulnerability. 

So, Its December 7th and I am completely a mess and far from where I want to be but its okay because one day, I will be. 

"DON'T ACT LIKE A CHRISTIAN. ACT LIKE CHRIST."


Here's a little snippet I wrote for Angelic Magazine a while back. It's a bit about me, about my story, and I guess my testimony as well. Xx Enjoy!


Growing up in a Christian home, going to a Christian school, attending a Christian church, and being surrounded by Christian families and friends, I honestly couldn’t tell you the day I became a believer.  I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I had accepted that I was a daughter of the King and that He was going to love me for all eternity all before the age of 4 or 5.  I have been blessed to grow up the way I have, to be surrounded by a community of believers, but so often I found myself getting caught up in what it looked like to “act like a Christian” instead of what it meant to “act like Christ”

I was so confused as to why the people around me spoke one way and acted another. I was so torn when those around me seemed more judgmental and hypocritical than accepting. I was so frustrated when it seemed more about the rules you must follow and the verses you must commit to memory, than the relationship you had with your heavenly father. For me, there was this giant disconnecting between Christ and the way his followers were demanding that you live. It wasn’t until I set foot in the country of Uganda, 9,346 miles away from my home that I learned what it truly, honestly, and genuinely looked like to “act like Christ.” And ironically, it wasn’t the church leaders, the teachers, or even the adults that I met, but rather it was the kids that taught me what it truly looks like to love.

There's something about the faith of a child, to be completely in awe of what Christ has done for us and so full of joy that you can't help but explode with love. The little ones I have met over the course of my five trips to the beautiful country that I get to call my second home have taught me just that. Each and every time I see their shining faces, I see Christ in them. The way they hold my hand so tightly when we pray in church, the way they worship their heavenly father with a devotion most adults struggle to find. They understand that they have a savior that loves them, that cares for them, and most of all believes in them. 

From little baby Muaka, who isn’t much older than two, teaching me it’s okay to fall down, its okay to stumble, and its okay to skin your knee every once in a while.  To my beautiful sponsor child, Benita, teaching me to laugh through heartache and find joy in the midst of pain. From spunky and sassy Drake teaching me that God definitely has a sense of humor, to sweet, precious Jane showing me that sometimes you can fix everything with just a good game of hide and go seek or a long hug.

All these little ones have taught me that our goal as Christians is not to act perfect or to follow some set of rules. But rather it is to realize how we are broken; to realize that we are complete and total train wrecks. To accept that we are not perfect and we never will be. And once we realize that, once we realize that everyone around us is just as imperfect as the rest of us, we no longer live with this constant pressure. More often than not I felt like I lived in this little bubble of believers but instead of living in His abounding peace and overwhelming grace, I felt that I was constantly battling my insecurities and my imperfections. I was being held back by my fears and not living in the freedom that the Lord provides. Because of kids like Muaka, Jane, Benita, and Drake, I no longer view my faith as rules or regulations but as a relationship. I no longer strive to “act like a Christian” but rather “act like Christ”. I am humbled because I have learned the Lord takes us, as we are, complete and utter messes. He takes us by the hand and whispers, “you can do this.”