Tag Archives: inspiration

See Ya Soon, Kid.

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See these people? These people are something like a second family to me, and they have been for five years of my life. That’s a fairly long time in comparison to all the friendships that have faded over the years. Let me tell you a little more about this team and posse of sorts.

With shaking hands and a nervous smile, I auditioned to play keys in my youth group’s worship team. I was new to the youth group scene, and didn’t know a soul. I remember sitting in my church’s youth room rather nervously, peering around at the new faces. Those new, unfamiliar faces would become my nearest and dearest friends. (little did I know.) I don’t remember much of my first year with the team, honestly. I was terribly shy, and stood in my little corner of the stage every week, meekly plucking out some chords on my keyboard. I soon befriended the bass player, however, since he was closest to me on stage. We were all knew to the whole worship team thing, and had a lot to figure out. But thankfully, we were able to figure it out together.

And slowly, but surely, the years passed. Camps and retreats and youth group outings brought us all closer, and I began to come out of my shell. I was soon spending much of my time with these people, and really befriending them. The fellows in the band became like my brothers, and Kaitlin became one of my best friends. I began to see God work in us as we grew up and matured in our talents and spiritual walk. Leadership was born in an unsuspecting one of us, and just last year Andrew became the worship leader of our team. It was amazing to us, since just a year prior to that he refused to sing in front of any of us. In retrospect, I’m astounded by all that God has done in us. It’s truly incredible. And more than half of us are going into music or some type of music ministry! I personally would have never even considered a future in worship ministry had I not become part of the team. It’s really helped me understand and grow my passion for worship and glorifying God with my musical talents and abilities.

So, that’s the story of how we met and how we got to where we are now. Sadly, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about how we’re all parting ways in a few short weeks. Our decisions and colleges will take us to four different states. Four! 

It’s slightly hard for me to imagine life without these people by my side. We’ve taken on so much together that it only seems right that we should take on college together. But, God has different plans for us. I’m so proud of these guys and gal for where they’re going and who they’re becoming. Amazing, incredible things are going to happen because of them – I just know it. 

Goodbyes aren’t easy, and I am especially not fond of them. But it really isn’t goodbye, I suppose. It’s more of a “see ya soon”. Although I am SO excited to start a whole new season of my life at Cedarville University, I’m really looking forward to the breaks when we all get to come home, reconnect, and update each other on our lives at college. I’m also really excited to see the new worship team that’s rising up – it’s comprised of many eager underclassmen who I can tell are going to grow into great leaders very soon.

To end this post, I shall leave you with the words of Winnie The Pooh:

How lucky I an to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

life will turn with the leaves.

I am almost down to one month. One month until I leave to start a whole new life at University. One month until I leave all of the friends I’ve grown up with over the years to meet a whole new group of people. One month until I say goodbye to my home of 18 years. One month until life turns.

And I cannot wait.

I can feel autumn in my bones, even though I’m physically stuck in the middle of a sweltering summer. It sounds strange, doesn’t it? But I feel the change on the horizon. When the leaves turn from green to rusty reds and oranges, my life will turn from familiar to totally new and maybe uncomfortable. When the breeze picks up, so shall my life. When the nights turn shorter and colder, my time here will grow distance and more into bittersweet memories. 

I am ready. I am ready for autumn weather, because I desperately hate wearing shorts. I am ready for a new life on campus, full of new faces and new things and new everything. I am ready to grow up and realize that everything here that I thought meant “everything” really meant so little in comparison. Honestly, I am ready to leave these people and these far too familiar faces. I will miss them dearly, some heaps more than others. Others I will learn never truly cared for me, and I will become better for realizing that. I am already starting to realize how superficial some of my friendships are, even though I thought them to be deep and meaningful. Isn’t it strange how easily other’s opinions of you can easily sway someone you called your best friend? Or how people expect you to pick sides? It’s crazy, that’s for sure. Anyway.

As for this town, it will grow sweeter as I am away from it longer. I will begin to appreciate the time I return to visit. I will long for reunions with the coffeeshop I seem to frequent weekly, or the annoying traffic lights that take too long, or the familiarity of it all. 

And finally, as for this life I am leaving, I will grow, grow, grow, grow. I am excited to see the person I transform into, as I get to kind of start over. I will no longer be chained to the preconceived opinions of people, or worry that lies or rumours will effect people’s judgment. I need not worry about that any longer. And that is a relief.

So, dear leaves, I hope you change very soon. Because I am ready.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

– Theodore Roosevelt 

I stand in front of the mirror, meticulously peering at my reflection before I go out for the day. I look first at my outfit – these shorts aren’t fitting me like they’re supposed to today. This shirt hugs my stomach a bit too much for my liking. My oddly proportioned body just seems awkward in this outfit, and I change into something different, for fear of everyone else thinking the same thing. I throw on a cardigan to cover up my unfit arms and I sigh, i guess this will do.

My focus is turned to my hair and I long for it to be longer like every other girl I know. The weather has turned it frizzy, and I wish for perfect hair. As if that were a thing. 

Next I look at my face, my attention turning to the imperfections and blemishes. I don’t even take much time to inspect my face, for I know I won’t be happy any way. I stand back and take one last look at myself. My shoulders are slumped and I try to suck in my gut a little bit more. that’s not terrible. I mutter before I walk out of my room. It could be better. I could look like her. Or have her perfect skin. Or my best friend’s perfect hair. Or her shape, for I fear I am too petite and not thin enough. I am never content. 


 

Why do we do this? Why do we constantly compare ourselves to who we aren’t, rather than appreciating who we are? No, we will never look like her or him. But that’s okay! We are all created to be different and unique. We are all perfect in our own ways. Do not be afraid to embrace your individuality. Perhaps you have a freckled face? No one else has the same exact freckles as you do! And that one dimple in your cheek? Someone someday will find that the cutest thing ever. The scars that zig zag across your wrists are not reminders of the past, but reminders of the fact that you are here and you triumphed. There is no such thing as an imperfection, for you are you. And you are perfect.

Do not compare yourself to another. Please.

summer skin.

And so with the sunshine and the bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.

– F. Scott Fitzgerald.

 

Oh, how I adore this quote. It is one that rings true, even in my own life. I find myself feeling ecstatic as the summer begins, flooding my town with sunshine and good vibes. The grass is turner greener, and the trees are bursting with leaves. The flowers are blooming in the garden, and I’m sitting outside on our patio listening to my neighbors mow their lawns and work on outdoorsy projects. There’s a certain universal joy that everyone is experiencing as they enjoy the wonderful weather. It feels fresh and new, like nothing that has happened before.

And perhaps that is what the summer does to us. Perhaps it reminds us that we can start over and that the trials and cold of winter is not eternal. Perhaps it reminds us that things can begin again. 

So I shall shed the skin of winter, the hard and tough armor that I suited myself with. I will leave that behind me and take on my summer skin, ready for all of the new adventures and promises of this season.

stories and screaming reminders.

You are empowered to remind people that they are utterly free.

– jack kerouac

I stumbled across this quote today, and it made me stop in my tracks. I pondered this simple sentence for a few minutes, marveling at its simple yet powerful truth.

We are all stories. Don’t think otherwise for one second. The people you come across every day are stories. The barista in your favourite coffee shop, the kid who sits next to you in class, the man on the street who begs for your spare change and grace… they are all stories. And our stories are all different, unique, but equal. Just because someone’s story is different than yours does not mean it is irrelevant and unimportant. Don’t be deceived. We have more in common than you think.

You’re probably thinking, “Great, Erin. Now what does that have to do with me and my personal story?”
It has everything to do with you and your story. You were given a story for a reason, though you may not realize it yet. The bumps in the road and the chasms in between are all for a reason. Look at where you are – you’ve made it here and that is what counts. Look behind you for a brief second, think about everything you’ve triumphed through. Think about the pain that has got you to where you all. It all has purpose. Now what can you do with that?

I’ll tell you one thing – you can use that story to inspire others. You can help other people get through their own messiness by showing them that we’re all a little messy. You can be an inspiration. I’ve had a few people tell me that I’ve inspired them through this blog, and they often say, “I wish I could do the same.” But the thing is – you can! Don’t be afraid to let your story shine like a lighthouse, showing people that the safety of the shore is not too far away.

monkees // lyric thursday

Then I saw her face,

now I’m a believer.

not a trace 

of doubt in my mind

I’m in love,

I’m a believer, I couldn’t leave her

if I tried

What makes me want to believeLove.

Love is one of the strongest of emotions and the greatest feeling you can have towards another. Now, the Monkees are talking about a romantic kind of love, but I am referring to a universal love. The love you feel towards the earth, humanity, people in general. I realize that it is very difficult to love, especially when you’ve been hurt. Sometimes it feels like there are those out there who do not deserve our love and compassion. However, God calls us to love one another, no matter what. We are called to love sacrificially and unconditionally, and above all – selflessly. 

I thought love was more or less a giving thing,

the more I gave the less I got,

what’s the use of trying?

All you get is pain.

When I wanted sunshine I got rain.

I’ve felt this way before. I felt like I poured myself out until I was empty, receiving nothing in return. I give and I give, and others take and they take. After awhile, you begin to feel like you deserve something in return. But that is not the case. While I do not promote being a doormat and giving people what they want to the point where it is harmful for yourself, true love and compassion is sacrifice and selflessness. Sometimes, in order to lift someone else up, we must lay ourselves down. It isn’t fun and it isn’t what we want to do. But in the end, we will be rewarded in some way or another. 

Consider the ones who have sacrificed their wants for our well being. Don’t they inspire you? Wouldn’t you like to be more like them?

Love and friendship. They are what make us who we are, and what can change us, if we let them

– Emily Giffin

Will you be a believer?

lights will guide you home…

I always find myself blogging by the window while it rains, with a cup of tea by my side. There’s something incredibly serene in the sound of raindrops pounding on the roof of my house. I enjoy the rain more than most normal people might to be honest. One time my mother yelled at me for standing out in the rain without an umbrella, getting soaked through. But I didn’t mind. I’m the obnoxious friend who splashes in the puddles as she walks, kicking up water with her feet. Some think rain to be an inconvenience, but I find it refreshing, as it washes the earth over. To me, rain signifies a new beginning. Washing something clean.

Sometimes I wish it would rain in my soul, because God knows that my soul needs a good cleansing. I long for the rain to pummel away all the dirty smudges and icky past regrets and scars on my heart. I wish a simple, gentle rain could wash away all the things I am not very proud of. But unfortunately, things don’t work that way. I must learn to accept these things.

I see people around me wishing the same thing, that their pasts could be obliterated. They long to be ransomed and redeemed from their regrets. They cry out in their own ways, not sure if anyone cares. It breaks my heart to see that because I care very much. I wish I could help others in some way when I see them going through things, but so often I am simply helpless. That kills me on the inside. I hate feeling helpless in any situation. If I could, I’d gather all the bruised, broken people in my arms and let them know that someone cares deeply and genuinely. People really need that. I know I need that sometimes. My own arms are weak at times, my own heart is heavy, my own mind is distracted, and my own wrists are scarred. But they make me who I am and I’n learning to be okay with that. And since I’m accepting who I am, I want to extend compassion and unconditional love to the ones who aren’t really okay with themselves yet. I want to let others know they are never, ever alone – no matter where they are in life. Because the worst thing is feeling like there is no one to turn to. 

…And I will try to fix you.

ivories and hidden keys

I am a classical pianist. I have been for nearly thirteen years now, and I absolutely love it. At first, I was merely intrigued as a child as to how someone could seemingly bang on white and black keys and produce such a marvelous sound. I began to learn the components of music and how to read music and all that jazz. It was difficult at first, but it seemed like my brain was wired to think in terms of music. It suddenly became easy and almost effortless to read the notes on a page, and my love for music, specifically piano, began to blossom. 

Music slowly began to take over my life, and as I got older, I began to spend hours and hours at the piano. Now that I am a part of many music clubs and participate in festivals and auditions, I spend quite a bit of time playing and polishing my pieces. I love how graceful my fingers feel as I glide up and down the keys with ease. My left wrist often pains me due to tendonitis and carpal tunnel, but I’ve learned to play through the pain. Sometimes beauty is sacrifice I suppose. Although I do enjoy playing in front of crowds and judges and other musicians, I play piano for myself. I get lost in the music for hours on end, not really caring about the world. My favourite thing is playing piano while it is raining outside, with a cup of tea by my side. There’s something very serene about that.

Piano is my therapy. I tend to play whenever I feel glum. It makes me feel powerful for creating something beautiful, even when I feel quite the opposite.

If I had to pick my favourite Mumford and Sons lyrics, it would have to be this line:

And I will learn, I will learn to love the skies I am under.

This line has been the motto of my senior year. Seriously, if I could I would get it branded on a t-shirt and wear it everywhere. At the middle school youth group I help lead tonight, we were studying Matthew 6:34, the verse that says “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow…”  I was suddenly reminded of these lyrics and I began to reevaluate what they mean to me.

When I first heard. “Hopeless Wanderer” by M&S, I applied it to the fact that I am very much a traveler. I have a hard time staying in one place with the same people for too long. It’s not that I get bored of them or of the place, but rather my soul starts getting feverish – wondering what else there is out there for me. You could call it a “severe case of wanderlust”. I held onto those lyrics as a reminder to always appreciate where I am physically, whether I’m stuck in this cornfield-ridden town of mine or in the mountains or in the bustling city.

Back to now. When I dissected the verse we read tonight with my middle school girls, I started to think about the lyrics again and what they mean now.

Now, I think they remind me to love my life, no matter where I am. It’s been a journey these past few years, and many circumstances I’d rather forget or skip past. In fact, I often find myself wishing away the precious months I still have here, in excitement for the future. I’m very much a planner. I like to know what’s next and I most often get distracted by what’s ahead. That’s a silly way to live. Now don’t get me wrong, planning is not bad at all. But when you start to miss out on the beauty of the present, you start to miss out on important things. I constantly have to remind myself that the future will come and I need not worry it, for God has it all figured out. My job is the enjoy the present and the time I’ve been given in this town, with these people, in these circumstances, and in this season.

Today was a perfect reminder of that. I spontaneously got a group of some dear friends together and we just laughed and threw the frisbee before playing on a playground. For a few hours, no one talked about college or leaving or “the good old days” or how sad it is going to be next year. We just laughed, joked, and told stories. For a second, I even forgot about the future. It sounds weird, but I was so in the moment, laughing at my best friend being reckless and goofy as usual. Joking with others. Smiling. Feeling joyful.

I continue to learn to love the skies I am under. And when I leave my season here in this town with these friends, I will learn to love those skies as well.

 

epiphanies to a severely sleep deprived mind

Last night I pulled an allnighter with hundreds of middle schoolers. I won’t go into detail, but I am a leader for a middle school youth group. So, we took 30 some of our crazy kids to a local University and joined a bunch of crazy youth groups and stayed up all night. Call me insane, but I had an incredible time.

Anyway, I was accompanied by my two best friends in the whole world. And we basically transformed into middle schoolers for a few hours. I’ve known these two since we were in junior high ourselves, and it felt strange to think that this is one of the last things we will do together as seniors. The two of them are going to do amazing things after graduating, I know it. They’re both on track to go to great colleges and do great things. It’s exciting to think about our futures. I’ve always been so proud of them, like a little sister who’s always looking up to them. I’ve seen them grow through hard times and good times and every time in between, and they’ve remained strong. I get teary eyed just typing this, as I think about how much I owe to them. (but then again that might be the lack of sleep.)

But the thing is, they are proud of me too. They’ve seen me triumph and fail and get back up again. They have always had my back in everything, never once have they left. After knowing them for so long, it’s easy to see what every facial expression they make means. And yesterday (or early this morning. however you want to look at it…) as we were leading our band of middle schoolers, we looked at eachother with pride. I don’t know why really. It just kind of happened that way. And not the egotistical kind of pride, rather the pride that people who have something to be proud of have.