“God is Hilarious Like That”

As I sat with one of my girlfriends, sunbathing by the pool and having girl talk; her response to what I was saying was, “God is hilarious like that.

Have you ever thought you had everything figured out? Like you could see your future unfolding and thought that you KNEW exactly where God was taking you and WHY he was taking you there?

I was there. In fact I was just there a few months ago.

The first time I applied to jobs out of state was in November 2013 and it just so happened that exactly a year later I found myself again applying to jobs out of state in November 2014. I felt I needed to re-invent myself and experience life outside of Florida.

I had just started working at a University as an Admissions representative that August and although it wasn’t my dream job by any means; I met some amazing people. Before I felt complacent in the job, I threw some applications out here and there in states like Georgia, South Carolina & North Carolina. All bordering Florida so I wouldn’t be TOO far from home, but far enough to feel a difference.

I was doing well, had found a church that I loved with amazing pastors & people, joined the worship team, I had an awesome roommate who was like a sister to me, I wasn’t feeling lonely like I did when I lived by myself for two years, and everyone I worked with was a joy to be around. I looked forward to seeing my co-workers, and assisting students in reaching their goals or sometimes I was just an ear on the other end to listen to them. I felt I had purpose.

In December I received a phone call from ESPN telling me they wanted to set up a phone interview. It went pretty well I thought, they said they would be getting in touch after the holidays since it was really close to Christmas. Until then, I was playing the waiting game.

Later that week I received another phone call from ESPN informing me they wanted to fly me to Charlotte, NC for a personal tour and interview to work for ESPN-U and the new SEC Network. It’s so exciting when you feel like you’re going to be doing something not only related to what you have your degree in after so long, but to be living in a gorgeous state and thinking of all the cool people you’re going to meet.

After my flight & and picking up the rental car that was provided, I had lunch in a Sports Grill of all places. On all the tvs was every ESPN channel and I was so pumped to be part of something so huge.

Arriving at the studio, I was greeted by my supervisor and given a tour of the studio. Everything seemed so perfect. Even my interview didn’t feel like an interview. The question came up about re-location and adjusting and I said I would be fine. I’d have my dog with me and I was ready to get out of Florida. My flight was delayed back home so I was exhausted by the time I got back to my apartment after midnight.

I was told that I would know by the end of the week if I got the job and my supervisor called me himself that following Friday to ask me if I wanted the job. I couldn’t contain myself and silently celebrated with a few co-workers about my new position as an Associate Content Editor for ESPN.

The job I had at the University was full-time with benefits and the whole nine yards. At the new job I was getting paid five dollars more per hour, but it was part time with no benefits. Even though I was told they would schedule me as much as possible and I’d be able to pick up hours.

After being offered the job there were quite a few red flags that I saw but ignored because this was “the chance of a lifetime.” During my interview I was told I would be helped with relocation, but then learned they only assist with those who are full-time employees. When I found out, my supervisor asked if that would be a problem, and I said “no.” He told me that he would gladly help and round up some other males to help move my things into storage and then to my apartment. But on the days we needed him, he bailed and my mom and I had to do everything on our own with the help of my sweet aunt.

I was flown to CT for “rookie camp” orientation to learn about the company and go through all their policies. Got to see the home base of ESPN and all the big studios you see on TV.

My first day observing I thought was going to be so cool and exciting and I was gonna learn so much. We sat there most of the time doing nothing. And when there was something to do, it wasn’t anything exciting or challenging…at all. I thought to myself, “Well, things are bound to get better. The more experience I have I’m sure.

But they didn’t.

My first few weeks I spent in tears when I was “home”. It didn’t feel like home. And even as I unpacked the following weeks, I kept the boxes in a corner “just in case.”

The people I met were great, don’t get me wrong. A lot of older men, and the females were friendly but not willing to go out of their way to be your friend or invite you anywhere.

I won tickets to a Chicago Bulls game which I ended up attending by myself. When I was working I sat in an edit room for hours at a time, sometimes doing nothing, and not enjoying what I was doing at all. My schedule is all over the place, not consistent so it’s virtually impossible to get another job. And after I was told they were going to get me as many hours as they could I found myself with 6 days in between shifts, having only two shifts in a week. I felt stuck. I felt alone. I felt sad and like I had made a HUGE mistake in thinking this was the right thing for me. I was so SURE God wanted me here. I was so SURE this is where I was supposed to work and retire from.

But God KNEW what He was doing the whole time. And He NEVER once, let me stray.

One of my best friends from my home town texted me one day in May asking how everything was going and how I was liking the job. She works for a physical therapy and home care company. Last summer, I had started school again to pursue a career as a Physical Therapist Assistant. I asked her about the job and she was telling me if she could that she would go back to school in a heartbeat. She was telling me the PTAs that work in her company all LOVE their jobs, get paid really well and still have time for their families.

After thinking about it for a few days, I decided I was going back to school indefinitely. I don’t want to waste another minute contemplating, I know that what I love to do is work with people, helping others and I honestly think this is a career I would love and do well in.

Since I live out of state and have only been in NC for a few months, I can’t claim residency so going to school there would be outrageously expensive. On top of having a job that can’t even cover all my bills and being away from everyone I love, I decided I was moving back home to Florida.

So here I am ready to move again after being in NC for five months which have felt like five years. I’m going back home, to start school; this time with fresh eyes and a new perspective.

In a way, I took for granted all that I had, thinking I had to be in search of something more. What more could I need? Great friends, amazing family, living in paradise, finally feeling like I found the right church for me…and I moved 500 miles away for a job that looks cool on Facebook, sounds cool when you tell people what you do; but that you dread each day you have to sit in a room by yourself staring at a computer screen for eight hours.

I prayed for God’s guidance to get here, and guide me He did. I think sometimes he allows opportunities in our lives, not because they are definitely meant for us. I think he likes for us to determine what’s right for us ourselves, instead of asking Him all the time what He thinks and what he wants like he’s some magical genie. I was meant to move to NC. To get the itch out of wanting to live in another state, so I could see how much I really did love living in FL. To see that, yes, I studied and have my bachelor’s degree in film production; but at the time I had no idea what else even interested me and maybe it’s NOT the career for me. And now that I’ve grown, although going back to school is something I said I would never do, I see it as a chance for growth and to have stability. Meanwhile, I can still do what I truly love on the side which is photography.

So indeed, “God is hilarious like that”. You think you know where you’re going, but you really have no idea.

He has everything in the palm of His hand, and He can send you down paths you think are paved in gold, but He just wants you to see what’s underneath the gold. Only then, can you choose. He also likes to throw people in your path when you least expect it too 😉

Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep praying. Never cease. God loves you too much to let you get away.

In the times you think He’s abandoned you, are the times He is most near.

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…” – James 4:8

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Keep On Keepin’ On

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Life has a funny way of repeating itself. We sometimes can find ourselves in similar situations over and over again. The main theme of my life I’d have to say is heartache. And I don’t mean that in just a romantic way. Heart ache through betrayal from friends, enemies, even people I don’t even know – lies, conniving, plotting – just to see me fall. And throughout the years of being broken down and praying and crying out I always come back to the same word…WHY?

Why would God allow these things in my life? To teach me a lesson? Why am I continuously drawn to people who are waiting for me to turn around so they can stab me in the back? Why do people tell lies and get away with it? Why are they doing this to me? And what did I ever do to deserve such treatment?

In the past I’ve festered over these thoughts and feelings over long periods of time. But as I’ve grown in my faith, I’ve been able to accept it and KNOW there’s a purpose. There’s a reason. And while I do need to learn to not give my trust so easily, being a good person to people who end up taking advantage of that are suffering far more than I am. And rather than seeking revenge, I know it’s already been taken care of. Not necessarily by something bad happening to them, although I can’t deny it’s definitely crossed my mind wanting someone to get what they deserve, but I’ve learned that God’s timing is impeccable and perfect.

I could go on and on about the situations I’ve been in. From “friends” talking about me for no reason, to being pre-judged by people who don’t even know me, my ex’s entire family hates me because of a lie their family friend told about me, I’ve had people steal money from me, and others throw me under the bus to make themselves look good. I’m not sure if God is trying to make my skin thicker or what His plan is, but I do know for a fact I haven’t suffered in vain.

From an early age my parents and teachers at school would always say: “Do unto others, what you would want done to you.” Treat people how you would want to be treated, act with integrity, don’t lie, don’t do something that will hurt someone or their reputation, be kind, be generous, be loving, be genuine – at all times. I don’t understand why everyone hasn’t been taught these vital morals in life. I’ve even had self-proclaimed “Christians” do things against me and use me. It’s unbelievable and I’m constantly in awe of what people are capable of. My mom always says, “Don’t ever be surprised because everyone is capable of doing anything.” It’s true. It’s a sad truth, but I can’t let that keep me from continuing to do what is right.

There’s been only a couple times where I allowed someone to make me lose total control. Which I could have avoided easily, and regretted immediately after that I allowed someone to get to me like that. Most of the time though, since I wear my heart on my sleeve, in situations where I should be fuming in anger I end up crawling in a ball and sobbing. It hurts. I just can never understand.

Whether I’ve been left to celebrate my birthday alone, have had a “friend” try to get with my boyfriend in front of me, or been humiliated when I’ve never done anything wrong to anyone; rather than letting that make me bitter I’ve just learned to let those people go. I will never be afraid of letting new people in because that’s just where my heart is. I love having relationships with people and while I’ve had about a hundred different circle of friends so far, those who are true have never left and I’m ever so grateful for those few.

If you’re finding yourself in similar situations or feel like you can’t handle another person causing you pain; rest assured your pain has a purpose. While it may not seem so at first and sometimes things will get so hard you feel like your heart can’t take anymore, God’s plan will prevail and someday you will see what He had in store for you all along. This doesn’t mean that you won’t ever suffer, we’re all human and even those you love will let you down, but as long and you’re living in the Lord’s truth, you’ll be able to pick yourself up, give grace, and keep on keeping’ on.

Truth For Today

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” – Galatians 6:9

“Do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight, so all will go well with you. Then you will enter and occupy the good land that the LORD swore to give your ancestors.” – Deuteronomy 6:18

Most Friendships Aren’t Meant to Last

 

Recently I was going through photos on my Facebook and realized how many people have come in and out of my life. It’s a lot. Like an entire football team’s worth at least. Maybe TWO. I find the main turmoil of growing up is in fact, when you lose friends. Usually it’s for the better, but that doesn’t make it any less painful.

When I speak of losing friends I’m mostly referring to female friends. I grew up going to private school so throughout the years up until the 8th grade, I was with pretty much the same kids every year. Even when my best friend moved to another state I still kept in touch with her. But then as we age, sometimes we can grow apart from people.

I’m at the age now where everybody is starting to find their pair and getting hitched. Girls that always said I’d be their bridesmaid found an excuse to not even send an invitation. My best friend growing up who moved to another state when we were little made me her bridesmaid 3 years ago. I felt so honored and excited to be a part of her union. Unfortunately, the wedding was canceled a week before it was supposed to happen, she’s now getting married to someone else next month and I can’t even get her to text me back, let alone send me an invitation.

I’ve always been a relational type of person. I like having friendships, I give a lot in my relationships with others, more than most I think. It’s hard to find people who you actually can relate to and also know how to be a good friend. For me personally, good-hearted people were hard to find because I was willing to accept the not-so-nice friends and kept the company of people who hurt, deceived and took my friendship for granted, out of not wanting to be lonely. My mother always (and still tells me) that I’m too sweet and people like to take advantage of that. I never said no to anyone, I was always willing to drive people around, buy things for people who didn’t have money, lend my clothes, I even let a friend live in my parents’ house one summer after her parents kicked her out. It’s sad to think that I don’t have friendships, let alone any type of communication, with any of those people anymore.

If I explained why I’m no longer friends with these girls, you would either laugh or say “WTFrench Toast?!” It’s just ridiculousness I don’t even want to get into. I saw a counselor for a few months not only for the breakup I went through, but I was having a hard time with the friends I was losing as well. For years I kept thinking, “Is it me? Am I the problem? What am I doing wrong?” It was so comforting to have a professional tell me that it wasn’t me. That she thought I couldn’t have done anything to salvage any of the friendships and that there are so many women who experience the same thing. One of the girls who stopped talking to me recently (after she praised me for being such a good friend to her for so long), threw in my face how nobody knows how I “really” am, that I scare people into being my friend and that all the girls I’ve lost throughout the years have been my fault. If she would have said that to me prior to seeing the counselor, I would have taken that VERY hard. I’m the type of person that takes things to heart but when she said this to me I took it with a grain of salt. First off, if you’re my friend and reading this right now, what she said should have you cracking up right now. Secondly, someone has to really be going through something personally in order to attack someone who has done nothing to them. When someone says something nasty to you, it is not a reflection of you, but a reflection of them. When I told her I wish her the best and success in life she told me she didn’t need my good wishes. Alllllrighty then, so much for trying to be nice.

Life goes on, and you learn what types of friends you need in your life. The types of friends who are going to stand by you on your wedding day, who will be called “Aunt” by your kids and are willing to put as much into your friendship as you are. I’m not the same person I was two years ago…I don’t even hang out with the same people I did a year ago. That’s insane to me. To think I’ve grown that much in such a short amount of time. But, there’s a reason for everything and I’m grateful for the girls that have stuck by me (you know who you are) and even the ones I’ve began relationships with most recently have been more of a friend to me than other girls ever have that I’ve known for years.

You don’t need people who will bring drama to your life, you don’t need people who will judge, or take advantage of your kindness. You don’t need people who only talk to you when they need something, or just to gossip. You also don’t need the ones that are willing to throw your friendship away over petty things or start a fight over nothing. Life is too short ladies. I think it had been a year since our friendship ended and I was still tagged in a photo and one of the girls decided to make a nasty comment about me so of course I got the notification. I responded that it was very sad that she would harbor such feelings after such a long time and that I would pray for her. She laughed at me, but I was serious.

Just like in relationships with men, it’s not worth staying in friendships with women who do nothing but bring you down. Whether you’re in the same stage of life or not, true friendships remain no matter what. Whether you talk every day, every week, once a month or every few months; the important thing is that you’re there for each other in the times you need it the most. We need relationship with other women because they’re the only ones that can truly understand us. It’s awesome how sometimes I’ll think I’m crazy but then my friend confides she’s the same exact way and it brings a sense of relief to know someone is right there with you. Cherish the women in your life, keep the ones that are faithful and have always been there for you. Sometimes I seriously think our true soul mates are our girlfriends. Make it a point to be a good woman, one that lifts others up, is there when someone needs you and never has a bad thing to say. Live in such a way that if anyone were to say something negative about you, nobody would ever believe it.