This is post #200, y'all! Wow, okay, I know this is weird, but I feel all this pressure to make this an amazing post, lol! That's why I didn't post yesterday; I was busy all day and didn't have enough time to write anything worthy of the title "200th Post". So, I waited. Hopefully, this will be worth it for you :)
Okay, I have so much to say!!
1. Mission Trip Update
2. Run Down About Last Night
3. Apology for My Last Crabby Post
4. God Day
This may be a long post.
Mission Trip Update:
Honestly, there is no way to fit everything in. I'm going to resort to my essay-type way of organizing:
What: A mission trip with Group Workcamps Week of Hope! The way it works is your youth group goes, and then you're split up into a lot of different groups mixed in with other youth groups. The first year our youth group did this, our youth group was so small that we were all completely split up, no one from our youth group was with anyone else from our youth group. This year, there were 24 of us, so we were all with someone from our own group.
Who: In my crew, I had Matt (my "little brother"), but he was the only person I knew. Besides him, I had a crew leader who acted like he didn't want to be there, a Catholic girl who cussed her brains out, a boy who was fun, a boy who acted spiritual during prayer time, but never followed through, a girl who was nice but quiet, and me. We were working with another crew who had Gabrielle in it, and another boy from our youth group, Michael. Also in that group were a fun guy named Joe, a total city-girl leader (but she was very nice), and a spoiled-but-sometimes-fun girl.
Where: Nashville, TN. It was hot and muggy and buggy, but really not that bad. It rained Tuesday and some of Wednesday and Thursday. What I was actually doing was working with a group called Lifestyle Ministries. They recently got kicked out of their building, so my crew was helping them fix up some trailers and stuff to use in the meantime.
When: Our youth group met at our church building last Saturday at 8pm for a lock-in!! It was SO MUCH FUN! We stayed up all night until 6am when we loaded ourselves into the four vehicles we were taking and started our trip to Nashville. We slept some, but I only rally got three hours of sleep, which was fine. We were having too much fun to sleep.
Why: Because we want to serve people, grow in Christ, and have a total blast!
The sleeping arrangments: Our girls were split into two rooms because of our large number. I was in a room with Brianna, Ellie B, a girl named Jessica, a girl named Cassidy, Gabrielle, my sister Lizzy, and one of our youth leaders, Kathie. The room was a good size; just big enough for all seven air matresses, all our crap, and a little walking space in between, lol! The only real complaint I have about the sleeping arrangement was that it was SO FREEZING a couple of the nights. It was actually difficult to sleep it was so cold. Oh, and the rug had not been vaccuumed in AGES. It was utterly disgusting. But, you got used to it XD
The volunteer staff: Horribly. Mean, grouchy, unfair, ungodly, unfun, BLECKO. But, we managed to have fun inspite of the evilness. (One of the ladies actually told one of our boys who was kneeling at the cross praying that he had to go to bed because it was "lights out time". How lame is that?)
The programs: Not as meaningful to me personally as other years have been, but still nice. It was a good way to regroup after a long day and praise God. Even if the worship team sounded like a strangled goose trying to play guitar with its feet and keep time with its wings.
Overall: Sucess! I felt like I grew a lot closer to the youth group, and closer to God as well. Ellie B is such an incredible...I don't know, mentor almost. She's such a fun person who helps me see God in a different perspective.
Let's get personal for a minute (**WARNING**: PERSONAL AND SLIGHTLY MUSHY SECTION. IF YOU WISH TO SKIP OVER THIS, YOU MAY): Wednesday was "Emotional Night", where the program is the most meaningful, and people spend a lot of time with God in prayer, and usually end up crying. I did not cry the first while. I actually left with a bunch of people to go to another room and wait for the ones who were.
Then, I started feeling like I had cheated myself. I hadn't really taken the program very seriously because it was...well...sort of lame. I realized, though, that just because the program wasn't as good as usual, that didn't mean I couldn't get something out of it anyway.
I went back to the big room, where the only people left were people from our youth group. We take things very seriously, WAY more seriously than the other youth groups there, at least. One guy was at the foot of the cross praying. I sort of felt led to sit beside of him. He was the only one up there, and I felt like he would want someone to join him. So I did.
I started thinking, too, about why I'm not close to God. Y'all might think that I am, but I'm not. I'm really, really, REALLY NOT. I rarely pray, and when I do, the prayers are deep, but very short, and usually when I'm in bed going to sleep, so I end up dozing off.
Mostly, that's because I'm angry at God a lot. For reasons that seem very petty, too, but they aren't to me. Things that would roll right off some people really bother me, and still do.
I know loving someone at 12/13 is supposed to be impossible. Loving someone *really* at least. Having crushes, of course, anyone can have, but really, honest-to-goodness loving someone doesn't happen until at least your teenage years. Or so people think. Or so I thought.
I really loved someone, you guys. Maybe you won't or can't understand, but I really loved this person. It wasn't mushy, I didn't have a crush on him, I just loved him so much. I didn't even realize it. I'd known him since I was 8 years old, and I didn't even know that I loved him. He was a part of my life, a precious, irreplaceable part that I so took for granted.
If this helps you understand, he was like my older brother. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know how much I wish I had an older brother. It's the one thing I would wish for if I had one wish. It's what I think about when I blow out my birthday candles. It's what I want when I see a shooting start. It's how I close my prayers at night. I want an older brother, and for 5 years, I had one.
Five happiest years of my whole life. I was finally fulfilled, finally, whole, finally happy. He was like my brother. I loved him like a brother, and he treated me like a sister. He explained things to me, he made me laugh, he protected me. He was everything I could have ever asked for a million times over. I loved him a lot, but I never thought about it much because I figured he would always be here. He was like the rest of my family, I could affored to take them for granted because there would always be time to appreciate them later.
I didn't realize that he meant so much to me until he left.
His family stopped coming to our church, they stopped coming to my school, and his mom was unhappy at my family and our church for a reason that I don't know to this day.
All the sudden, after five years of having my dream, loving someone so much that if I thought about it, it hurt, he was gone. I stopped seeing him, and only then did I realize how much he meant to me, how much I depended on him.
I was shocked by the pain of losing him. Love like this doesn't happen at twelve, I scolded myself. You can't hurt like this at my age! Stop being so dramatic!
I told myself I was being ridiculous, that it was hormones or something, but it still hurt, almost physically. I didn't want to think about Him, but I didn't want to forget Him either. It was a constant battle of mind vs. heart every day, every moment.
I cried myself to sleep every night. I prayed so hard that His family would come back to church. Every time He wasn't there, I had to go to the bathroom and force back tears.
All this sounds stupid, ridiculous even to me, but I can't begin to stress the truth of it to you. I'm not exaggerating, I'm not being melodramatic, although my friends told me I was for years.
I finally told my parents what was wrong more than a year later, and they actually believed me. They were the first people to really get it. They told me that what I was experiencing was a kind of unconditional love that the other girls my age were just having trouble understanding yet. Knowing that I wasn't crazy made a world of difference, and I didn't cry that night after I told them.
I was better for a few weeks, but the pain kept coming back. It was better, but still there.
This whole aftermath thing has been going on for 42 months, and I've learned to hide the pain very well. My friends got tired of listening a long time ago, and eventually my parents even started using the generic responses, "I know you miss Him, but just give it more time. Don't try to hold on to this, Kendra."
I was actually doing very well with this until Wednesday, Emotional Night. I've learned to push this back into my mind, where it's still there, but I don't have to think about it. It's not a bad way to deal with this, it's practical and helpful, but as I sat at the foot of the cross, I just couldn't really pray with it lurking over my shoulder.
I was angry at God. Too angry to really get close to him. Why had God taken Him away from me? God had given me the one thing I'd always dreamed of, let me taste it, and then ripped it away from me again. Why on Earth would a good God do that? Ellie B assured me that God was there for me, and he wanted to help me. I believed her, but it's still like someone punching you in the face, then offering to get you some ice. If they just hadn't punched you in the face to begin with, you wouldn't need their stupid ice!
Ellie B helped me think back to that post I wrote a while ago, about trusting God, the author of my story. Bad things happen to me, but God knows the ending. Even thought I can't tell what he's doing, he has things worked out in the end. I don't know the ending, but I know it's good, and I know losing Him plays into that somehow.
I'm still struggling with that, and He still holds a very special part of my heart that I don't know if I'll ever get back, but I think I'm starting to really work through this. I'm starting to trust God a little more, and believe that he really does have my best interests at heart. I know God loves, and I know he has the end of my story already outlined, I just have to trust him that he knows what he's doing.
**END PERSONAL AND SLIGHTLY MUSH SECTION.**
Sorry for dumping on you. I can't believe I just wrote all that. I haven't told many people at all about that. There are only three non-family members who know that. And I just put it out there on my blog for all to see. But I think that's a good thing. I think it's a sign that I'm finally starting to let it go, give it to God. I'm healing. Slowly, but surely, I'm healing.
No, that's not right. I'm not healing.
God is healing me.
You know, I know I was planning on telling about last night and posting something for God Day, but I think I'm just going to leave this like it is. Last night was fun, and filled with family and friends and wild golfcart rides through thorns and a horse, but I think I'm not going to go into detail. I typed out all the important things, the things that will really matter ten years from now.
Thank you for reading, and, please, carpe diem. Carpe diem before it's too late. Before that person you take for granted gets taken away. Carpe diem NOW. Not tomorrow, NOW.