Sunday, October 31, 2010

Twenty-four and a mere child

Halloween costume: birthday suit; water fall.

Today was the last day of Pathways. I have spent seven weeks devoting my thoughts to the intimate relationship with my creator. Like Amanda said this morning, “This is just the beginning.”  As I just wrote on a comment, “ I am God’s Child; He wants me to share his great new!”.

This has been the most exhilarating weekend.  Thursday, we had a pumpkin carving party at the Casa de Jennie/ Jtodd.  Then on Friday, Chrissy and Tommy came into town. We went on a two hour bike ride around the Southwood area. After this, I made a delicious vegetarian dinner of stuffed peppers, asparagus, and salad.  After we devoured this scrumptious meal we headed out to the circus. The FSU Flying high circus was the high light of the day for me. We watched talented students fly through the air, through bodies around, and do the impossible. We were memorized by the costumes and magic which made us feel like children again. Sleeping camping style in my living room made me long to go camping;  we went. Marjie, Chuck, Chrissy, Tommy, Matty, and I packed up our gear and headed out to Torreya State Park. While at the park we biked on trailed that are difficult to walk. I swam in the Apalachicola River and bathed in a small water fall.  We made hobo dinners  and s’mores,  played yahtzee, and star gazed. We laughed and smiled the entire time.  Then today, I had the opportunity to talk about Zachary’s story; I spread the good news. I took my friendship to a new level based on my relational rights with my community. We then went on a bike ride, drank margaritas, and ate peanut butter cup cheese cake! After my nap, I check facebook and over 100 people have wished me a happy birthday!!

What does all of this mean?  God is showing me that I am not alone; I have a community of family and friends that love me and support me. I am growing in my faith and allowing God to direct my foot prints in the process of taking my intimate friendships to a deeper level.  I am exploring, searching, questioning, my own journey. I am praying that one day God will put a man in my life that will love all of these things about me and be willing to walk this path with me. 

I am not sure where this year will take me, and I have no idea who I am going to meet. I do know that I am going to keep loving like crazy, and keep getting back to the basics.  Life is happening, and I am blessed.

Element 3 Church:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Raw Challenge: Everyday loving my body.

Look at the difference! :) I have changed my life drastically within one year. These pictures were from the New Leaf Farm Tour 2009 and 2010. Many  people have inquired what I have done. I tell them the truth, it is about gaining knowledge. Do you know what you are putting in your body? Researching: knowing your food sources and your personal body. My motto: just move! I love biking, swimming, running. Get outside in in the sunlight. Be one with nature. Be thankful. Be kind and caring. Lend a helping hand. Love yourself and follow the dreams of your heart. Go forth. Know that God loves you and will protect you even in the toughest times. 

Life lesson: Actions speak louder than words

Upon reflection of the entire event, my best friend Matt helped me realize that Zachary taught me a lesson about life that no one else could. When I met Zachary, I was a senior in High School. Two weeks after graduation, Zachary and I started to date. We decided that even though I was leaving for college in a few months that we should spend our summer together. This relationship lasted almost four years.  Upon entering into college I was a size 10: A healthy size for the women in my family. Within five years I had gained 40lbs and was miserable. My body was unhappy. Just this year, since January 1, 2010, I have lost 50lbs. This was my commitment to myself to regain control of my life. I get up four days a week and attend a 7am class at the FSU Leach Center.  Trust me, dropping pounds is not an easy task, but the old adage “diet and exercise” still holds true. I learned as much as I could about eating a raw whole foods diet. I read Angela Monarch’s website:  Within a few months I was dropping pounds.  I want to be the skinny hot girl. I want to be attractive, but Zachary proved to me that I am.

When younger I always faced opposition to my size and weight. I was never happy with the way my body looked. The lesson that Zach taught me, which is God’s way of blessing me with his unfailing and unconditional love, is that Zach loved me no matter what size I was. He did not care that I had put on a lot of weight; he wanted to be with me intimately regardless of what I looked like. Why did he sacrifice for me? His mom told me that I was the love of his life, but he loved my heart and my spirit more than being physical with me. I never believed this to be true, until he actually refused my new smaller and toned body. For years Zachary wanted to know my biggest turn on, and he finally found it. Not giving into my body, not allowing me to break my promise to God, proving his level of maturity in the situation, made me want him more than I ever had before.  Actions truly speak louder than words.

Zachary's Story

Rebekah warned me: “Big things happen during Pathways. I’m get excited but preparing myself for what is to come.” I wanted to make this journey count, and thus I made a personal promise to myself. I was going to focus on my intimate relationship with God. I did not want to think about other personal relationships, but only focus on what God was going to do with me as his daughter. I wanted to experience the love of God like never before. I prayed a dangerous prayer and asked him to take me out farther than I had ever been before.
For our community devotional, God had placed on my heart to write about relationships. God allowed me to attend Rebekah’s Growth Group that focused on God’s love. God wanted me to write about my struggles of overcoming my struggle with food and my relationships with my ex boyfriend, now best friend Zachary. I went against God and wrote a different devotional. I sent the first to Dan and he replied to me that he needed me to go farther. I finally obeyed, and asked God to give me the words to write about my life, especially my struggles with relationships. I wrote the devotional, for the first time being public about my personal struggles. Despite my fear of what the community would think, I wrote the words that God put on my heart.
On October 11th, the first day of week five (the focus being Relational), Zachary died tragically. Two weeks before this happened, I had the opportunity to see him. We were lying on his bed, when I kissed him. He stopped me and asked me “what are we doing?” He continued and said, “Jessica, you made a promise to God not to be with me, and to give your heart to him. I do not want to be the person who breaks that promise.” I was shocked, confused, thrown off guard. Never had Zach refused me to be intimate with me. He took me in his arms and said, “Jessica, I am sacrificing for you.”  Upon hearing those Christ like words, I wept.  God had sacrificed his only son for my sins, and now Zach was sacrificing for me to prove to me that the guilt of our relationship was no more.
 Zachary was an atheist, and for the four years that we had dated we never once talked about our beliefs in God. He knew that I was a devout follower of Christ and that I went to church, volunteered with my community, and worked towards being God’s tangible hand. For the first time, I asked him if he believed in God. His response, “Yes, and You better give me that Job!” He had just applied for a new job that day. He then continued to tell me that we could never be together and that I was going to find someone who loved me and care about me more than he could.
He then drove me home. When standing outside my house, I swore that I saw an angel, a white Jesus like figure. I knew that God was there allowing us to spend our last few minutes together. In the two weeks before his death, I was amazed at how much Zach had matured. He was truly a contributor of our friendship, and no longer was the greedy consumer of my love.  We had finally made amends to our relationship; there was no more guilt or sorrow. We could for the first time move on with our lives.
I truly believe that this has been God’s plan the entire time. When I met Zach 6 years ago, God wanted me in his life so that I could show him the love of God. And now, I get to share Zachary’s story with others. I am not one to push religion or God on others, but God gives us the opportunity to spread his love and tell of his greatness. I know that I will one day see Zach again, because I was the one person who had the relational right to confront him about his beliefs.
Upon hearing the tragic news, I was hysterical. I called my spiritual dad and mom (Chuck and Marjie), and they came running to my house in the middle of the night. All I wanted to do was pray.  The prayers were messy and sloppy, but Marjie prayed for peace. That night, God was present, and I felt the warmth and gentleness of Zachary’s arms around me. I was able to sleep peacefully.  The grieving process is hard, and I feel like I am on an emotional roller coaster. However, I know that God’s grace and peace surrounds me, and that his unfailing love is eternal, much like Zachary’s sprit. At times I am angry at God, and ask him why; yet, God has prepared my heart to be able to rely on him during the hardest event that I have thus endured. Even though I am not home, God has blessed me with a spiritual community that has held my hand and sat with me in my mess during these dark days.
As Dad spoke into my life, “I see the outlines of the trees, but not the color.” He said, “The more that God wants to use us and your story, things will be that much harder.” I said, “Gee thanks!” Right now, I don’t even see the outlines of the trees but the shadows. I know that eventually God will bless me with the ability to see the colors of his most magnificent creation.