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3am teedbits because sleep always eludes me when I most need it.

[0] I give up on sleeping and prop myself up on my elbows (Claudia throws up her hands and sighs cutely in her sleep and I look over at her, smiling. Cute.) I happen to glance over and notice that Rebekah is scrolling through her phone. “AHHH so she also can’t fall asleep!” And just like that, I don’t feel so alone. A sleeping Claudia is between us so I don’t hazard communicating with Rebekah but I feel a sort of relief as I know that I won’t be the only one groggy and foggy eyed tomorrow morning. Misery loves company, they say, but truly, it does help to know there’s others in the same boat as you when you’re stranded out at sea.

[1] (Clauds is now half spooning me. I’m cool with it.) When Pastor Bill Smith preaches on kindness, I feel my heart harden. The kind of kindness he preaches: the biblical kindness that Jesus displays (kindness that goes beyond being nice and pleasant; kindness that reassures, comforts, and gives when the other doesn’t deserve), feels impossible to attain. My pride takes a hit because I consider myself a pretty kind person, but when I compare myself to the bullet points he stated regarding true marks of kindness, I fall way short. And it stings. Why in the world would I be kind to someone who’s not kind to me? Why should I help someone climb out of a pit they dug themselves? What am I, crazy?

No, just sinful.

I can’t think of myself as kind after today.

[2] Adam frequently tells me that I have no mean bone in my body. I always push back hard whenever he says such a thing, terrified that he is disillusioned regarding my true personality. “I can be really mean,” I’d tell him, insisting over and over again, even as he repeatedly shook his head. “I refuse to believe it.”

Looking back now, my wording was misleading. Not “I can be really mean,” but “I am really mean.” I only have moments of kindness, moments where Jesus’s overwhelming love and compassion flows out of me and allows me to show kindness to another person. Of course I’m “kind” to Adam – loveable, huggable, sweet and charming Adam who only wants good for me. But, how do I treat the person who rubbed me the wrong way in college? How do I respond to those who hurt me, either purposefully or unintentionally? I avoid, ignore, and run away. I want nothing to do with that person. Where is the kindness in that?

[3] Words are so volatile. You can mean one thing when you say a set of words but then another can interpret it a completely different way. When the words come out of my mouth, I mean it in jest. I don’t mean it to hurt or damage. My intention is to banter and to put up the front that I can be clever, witty and sassy. I needed a comeback so out popped those words and Stone catapults out of his seat and moves far away in mock hurt, so far that part of me is dumbfounded by the effect of my words. Sure, it was a good comeback, but not enough to warrant the whole table erupting in laughter, sporting wide eyes and guffawing mouths. Stone takes his time coming back to his seat at the table; when he does sit down, he lifts up his hands in an appeasing manner and states: “I’m not hurt.” He means what he says so I’m not too worried but as I reflect on it hours later, I wonder if I could have hurt a less understanding person had they been the recipient of my words, the butt of my joke. I didn’t mean to hurt, but I meant to uplift myself. I didn’t mean to put down – I meant to draw attention to myself. I didn’t mean to ridicule – I meant to save my own pride. And I have most definitely hurt others before in the process.

As someone who’s love language is words of affirmation, it is concerning to me how flippantly I use words with the capacity of hurting others.

[4] (Claudia wakes up briefly to use the bathroom – she’s sick and I tell her to scratch catching the sunrise since it’ll be cloudy anyway. I think Rebekah is asleep at this point? But I’m too far into this post to sleep now – not that I could even if I tried. My thoughts don’t go away unless I put them down in writing.)

Claudia is especially affectionate towards me. She wraps her arms around me, holds my hand, plays with my fingers, etc. I revel in it (I’m also a physical touch person). She’s sick but I don’t care. If I get sick, I get sick. It’s worth her arms around me.

Community. God is teaching me how beautiful it can be. It’s such a beautiful thing; it’s what He created us for. When I think about community, I think of Claudia. Claudia who I will text with a prayer request when I am on the verge of a breakdown. Claudia, who asks how she can pray for me, randomly. Claudia, who makes me feel safe, like I could tell her all my dirty little secrets and she wouldn’t be surprised. She would look at me and go: “girl, same,” with a breath of laughter and a weighty seriousness behind it. She doesn’t hide her weakness. She doesn’t shame others in their failures. She holds their hand and prays for them.

[6] In contrast, I hide all my weaknesses. I’ll reveal them if I have control over them or if I’ve overcome them…but never in the moment. When people fail, I judge them for it. I hate incompetency. It sounds cold and hard but I’m like that. I hate incompetency in myself, which explains why I’m so hard on myself and why I lack so much grace for others when they make mistakes. Why can’t we just get things right? Why can’t we just be perfect?

You’re only human; I created you that way. I didn’t mean for you to be perfect.

I always pray for strength. I always pray for grace. But, perhaps it’s not a bad idea to pray more for weakness, too. To be continually reminded that I am weak. I am inefficient. I am flawed. I am broken. I am volatile and pissy and moody and hurtful. Weakness points to God’s strength. Weakness points to God’s faithfulness. Weakness points to God’s grace. So if I may boast in anything, may I boast in my weaknesses.

[7] Day seven of my headache. The last time this happened, I had depression. I’m a little worried. I can never quite pinpoint how I’m doing until I’m deep in the pits. I cried today (well, yesterday technically) because I hate that I have no control over my physical and mental well being. I cried out of fear and helplessness; I’m scared. If my head hurts, there’s only so much Advil I can take. If I’m sad, there’s only so much liquid in my body I can expend in tears. What then? What can I do? I can only hope and pray to the Lord.

The last time this happened, God delivered me. God took away my pain, both physical and emotional. God sowed seeds into different avenues of my life that eventually bore fruit, whether through the maturing of my character, humbling of my spirit, or advances for the kingdom in my very own community. The last time this happened, God was faithful, as He will continue to be.

[8] I’m 25 now yet I still feel 15 at times. Immature, distracted, unable to prioritize and take care of myself. Ever so arrogant and high and mighty, regardless. I really don’t deserve at all to have the people I have in my life right now. The community God has sown around me moves me to tears; I’m crying now as I write this.

If you want a taste of Christ’s love for you, immerse yourself in community. Rub against one another. Bicker and apologize. Do things two by two. Mess up and be forgiven. Jesus has grace for you.

[9] I always know what to wish for on my birthday. When the cake and candles come out I’m ready. I’ll tell you all because this is a wish I know will actually come true. Superstition doesn’t stand a chance against God’s will.

“God, be glorified. God, be glorified in my life. God, use me for your glory. ”

Perhaps because it is 430 in the morning; perhaps because I have spent far too long on this not to post; perhaps I’ve finally given up on having coherent thought, thesis, and theme to my writing – but, I’m posting this disjointed garble for all to read in the hopes (oh please, in the hopes) that God would be glorified.

My first post of 25; here’s to hoping for many more.

Jesus is the same, yesterday today and forever. Thank you, Jesus, for your faithfulness.

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