a few of my favorite things: a reflection on a year in Portland

999057_10201808871923163_1226811356_nMy favorite thing about this past year cannot be summed up with a description of a single moment. It isn’t a trip that I took, or a musician I saw, or a friend that I met.  It wasn’t the long talks and walks and countless sunsets. It wasn’t returning to Texas to see my family and friends, or successful cooking endeavors. & it certainly wasn’t the fact that I cried a lot, or sought counseling, or faced rejection.

My favorite thing about this past year, since I moved to Portland? Experience. Learning. Soaking in all of the abundant life that God gives as well as the heartache of my mistakes. It’s the culmination of all of the things that I’ve learned that have made this one of the best years of my life. I gave my heart to people that didn’t deserve it, I drank too much and too often, I struggled with my faith, & I stood defeated by depression and anxiety. I also loved my family from a distance more than I thought was possible, I traveled to new places, walked underneath tall trees, was changed by the words and affirmation of others, became committed to helping foster children and their families, learned about and admitted to white priveledge, and fell more deeply in love with the God who loves me.

This past year has been one of the best years of my life because I can look back and say that I’ve been changed. I have sought truth when it was difficult. I have had friends whispering truth into my ear when I didn’t want to seek it out for myself. And when I rejected all reasoning, I believe that God bent down and whipsered Truth to me Himself.

I want you to hear me when I say this: change is hard. Not only because it’s uncomfortable for you, but because it’s uncomfortable for the people around you. Changing as a result of the lessons I’ve learned has actually been one of the most challenging endeavors thus far. Either people don’t want you to change, they don’t think you’re changing enough, or they don’t believe that you have changed. And maybe you haven’t. Maybe you really want to change but it’s going to take time. Maybe you make mistakes, and get hurt by your own mistakes. Again, hear me when I say this: it’s okay. Keep your head up.

I used to really want other people to know me well and give their approval; now I just want to know and love myself. When there is a God who knows you & loves you without bounds, why do you need the approval of others anyway?

Love remains. Hope stays. Homemade dinners and living room dancing exists.

“Love is patient & kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

With love for you in the present, & hope for your future–
Charlotte

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