Tag Archives: Hope

How to Shimmer: Being A Beacon of Hope

via Daily Prompt: Shimmer

I have decided that I want to be a beacon of hope to all that I encounter. For me, personally, this means doing quite a number of things. The first is getting my tattoo next year, which is both a combination of my personal story and also my testimony that I want to share with the world.

I’ve also started a small way of being a beacon of hope at work. I bought a small, dry-erase white board, and various colored dry-erase markers to go along with it. Then, each day, I write a funny or inspirational quote on it. Some of my coworkers see it and love it. Others don’t see it, but they will in time.

Finally, I just try to act as Jesus would in any situation. It can be tricky sometimes, but he gives us grace each and every time. And that’s what I love. He continues to transform me from the inside out, and for that reason, I’m very grateful.

Savoring the Moment: A Time I Want to Remember Forever

via Daily Prompt: Savor

There comes a time in everyone’s life where they experience a brief, fleeting moment that is extremely impactful; it affects them in some way, and they never want it to end. When those moments come, it’s best to savor them, and to process everything that you’re thinking and feeling in the moment. Then, once that moment becomes a distant memory, you can still hold onto it and remember what it felt like a long time ago. Here’s one of the best moments that I’ve savored, and that I hope to remember forever:

The Moment When I Finally Met Jesus on a Personal Level, and the Moment when He Finally Showed Me My Identity

This is a two-fold memory that actually spans two different events, but I’m grouping it into one category because it’s perhaps the biggest thing that I don’t ever want to forget. I had grown up in a Christian home always hearing about Christ. I prayed to Jesus, I asked for forgiveness when I sinned or felt guilty about something, I prayed that people would be healed of their afflictions, and I had even asked him into my heart in fifth grade. I read my Bible as often as I could (though probably not as often as I should have) and was heavily involved in youth group all throughout my life. And yet, despite all that, I never really knew Jesus personally, the way that he desires to know us. I worshiped him blindly, without ever really discovering his truth for myself. I followed him because…it was all I had ever known. I’d never known anything different, having been born and raised into this way of life. So of course, it was only logical that I would follow him. However, I needed to truly experience his grace for myself before I could take it personally (in a good way).

In my freshman year of high school, I began being plagued by these terrible thoughts of: “Oh my goodness, what if God isn’t real?” Sometimes, they’d affect my waking consciousness, whereas other times, I would wake up in the middle of the night absolutely terrified that there was a possibility that I might be living a lie. The idea of not having anywhere to go when I died scared me more than anything else. But deep down, I was scared of God not existing, because what did that mean for me? Eventually, the thoughts subsided, and I convinced myself that of course God is real. There’s no reason for him not to be. Still, I never really experienced him on a personal level….that is, not until one night on a youth group trip in San Diego, which was the first time I ever heard him speaking to me.

I was now seventeen-years-old, having just completed my junior year of high school. At the time, I was struggling with feelings of self-doubt, and wondering what my purpose in life was (if I even had one). I felt guilty all the time about a sin that I kept hidden from others because I was afraid of being judged, even though it wasn’t really anything “major.” I went to this youth event, and we were singing “Revelation Song” by Kari Jobe. As we got to the part that goes: “holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” I started thinking of how beautiful it will be when we get to be in heaven and sing that directly to God. And then, that was when I truly heard him for the first time. In my heart and in my mind, I could feel him saying, “You have no idea how much I love you.” He began working in me to give me peace and joy that day, and it lasted for a while, but this had just been me dipping my toes in the water. I was to have another experience later on.

In 2013, I was 20-years-old, and felt lost and hopeless. Over the course of the past two years, I had continued to struggle with my sense of self-worth. I had asked God to forgive me for the sin that I mentioned earlier. Several times, in fact, but Satan kept making me feel guilty. His classic lie was: “You’re not really forgiven,” or “did God really say…?” I got into this spiral of sadness, and entered a really dark period of my life. I never self-harmed or anything like that, but I just wasn’t in a good place spiritually or emotionally. I was a volunteer youth leader at my church at the time, and while I could preach about Christ’s unconditional love for everyone, secretly, I believed that it applied to everybody but me. In the depths of my soul, I believed that due to my past, God hated me. In fact, I was convinced that he hated me, and that despite my best efforts at serving him, I would come up short and go to hell. So I was constantly in a state of spiritual torment. I remember one day actually asking God, “what’s the point of serving you if I’m just going to end up in hell anyway?” Like I said, it was a very dark place that I was in, and one that I hope to never go back to. I went to a leadership summit with my church, in the hope to hone my leadership skills and reach the high school and junior high kids that I was ministering to. Little did I know, God had a message for me on that trip. I’ve often noticed that God speaks to me through music when he has something to tell me, and this time was no exception. We were singing Matt Redman’s: 10,000 Reasons, and during part of the song, God spoke to me clearly. He gave me my identity. His words to me were: “I don’t care about what you’ve done in your past. What’s important is the here and now, and who I’m creating you to be.” I felt so relieved, because in that moment, I knew that he didn’t hate me. He loved me, just as I was, no matter how much I felt like the prodigal daughter. However, there was also a part of me that was a little upset and angry, because I had struggled for two years with thinking God hated me, and I was frustrated that he had allowed me to believe that lie. So I asked him, “then why did you wait two years to tell me this? Why did you let me struggle with hating myself and wondering if you hated me, too?” And he gently replied, “the why is not important. It’s how I’m working in you and transforming you that’s important.” And suddenly, I knew that he was right. The reasoning behind my struggle didn’t matter. The point was that God was using my struggle to point me back to him. All along, even when I doubted him and wondered where he was, he was right there, pointing me back to him.

Since then, I have had a few moments of questioning, and of being slightly afraid that I’m not good enough. I know that I don’t measure up to God’s standards, and that I can’t ever truly measure up until I get to heaven. But then, when I start to doubt and question, I go back to this moment, and I think about what God told me. I am reminded of who I am and whose I am. I know where I’ve been, and where I’m going, and I can’t wait to see who I turn out to be when God is finished with me. I believe that I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep. I can’t give up or give in, I’ve got to stay strong and fight against everything that tries to bring me down. But I’m not alone. God is always by my side. And even on the darkest of days sometimes, when it’s hard to find God in all the chaos, or when I’m not feeling very valuable, I think of these two songs, and they make me happy, and draw me closer to Christ:

I hope this post has inspired you. Don’t forget, don’t ever give up. God loves you more than you can ever know or fathom. And he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

 

Update on the Tattoo Dry-Run

So, there was a little bit of a hiccup with doing the dry run for my tattoo today. The shop that we ended up going to…didn’t work out to say the least. Things didn’t exactly go according to plan, so I didn’t get to do my dry run, and my friends didn’t get their tattoos today. Oh well, they’re still researching other shops, and I still am planning on going to the one that I had in mind. They’re easily considered the best shop in town, and many of the tattooed people I know swear by them.

I think tomorrow, on my lunch break at work, I’m going to call the shop I want to go to, and set up a consultation with the artist that I want. Then, I can go to the consult and ask him all the questions I have, and see if I can get him to do a dry run right there in the shop for me. I’m about 90% sure that I’m still getting the tattoo, but I definitely need to know my own pain tolerance in that regard before I spend money on it. And the people who are telling me that are correct.

That’s the plan, then. I’ll give the shop I had in mind a call tomorrow, get the consult, hopefully get the dry run at that shop (assuming that the artist I work with has time for that), and go from there. I may just end up being a “brave little toaster,” as I often say, and just go for it, but if I can still get the dry run, preferably at my shop of choice, then that’s what I’d like to do. So, I will post more updates on the tattoo process after I go to my consult. I have no idea when the consultation will take place, but I will definitely keep you posted. Meanwhile, stick around for other, unrelated blog posts, and enjoy reading Blurbs By Bythnia!

Excited, But Nervous

So, tomorrow, two friends of mine are going to a tattoo shop in the mall to get tattoos done. This will be one of many tattoos for friend number 1, and the first tattoo for friend number 2. As I have been considering getting a tattoo for a while now (I know exactly what I would like to get, and it’s deeply personal, but I will share it with you if I do end up getting it), they have asked me to come along with them. Their reason for this is twofold:

  1. By going with them, I can see, hear, and experience every facet of the tattoo process so that I know what to expect when/if I get mine done. I will not be getting mine done at the mall, as I just feel weird about it, but I will be going to the best shop in town when the time comes. I am merely going with my friends so that I can get the experience of seeing what is happening to them, and seeing how they feel about it every step of the way.
  2. I will be doing a dry-run at the mall. This basically consists of having the tattoo artist use the tattoo needle on me without any ink. The idea is that he/she will do this so that I can feel what the pain would be like, and I can then decide if I want to schedule a consult with the other shop and actually get the tattoo done, or if I want to change my mind and just put my tattoo design concept on a T-Shirt. I’m thinking of getting the tattoo done on my right calf, which isn’t as painful an area as other areas of the body, so I think it will be fine. Honestly, as long as the results of the dry run don’t create the greatest amount of pain in my life, I’ll still go through with getting the tattoo.

I’m really excited for this, because the odds of my being able to handle the pain and get the tattoo (at a later date this year) are fairly high, but I’m also super nervous, because I’m afraid that it will hurt way more than I’m anticipating. Realistically, according to all the tattoo pain charts I’ve read, that area of the body is said to feel like several cat scratches or bee stings. I’ve had several of those in my life, so I think I should be fine. But there’s this fear in the back of my mind that it’s going to hurt about as bad as getting a shot at the doctor’s office, or like getting an IV. I also have a pain tolerance of, essentially, zero, so it’ll be interesting to see how the dry run goes. Honestly, I think the biggest issue that I will have is remembering to breathe (thankfully, one of the sales managers at my work reminded me that this is crucial), and controlling the urge to flinch or move when the tattoo needle/gun touches me. It’s a normal reaction, but I’m going to have to tell myself to keep it in check. 😛 I’m hoping that when I have someone come with me, if I can talk to them and the tattoo artist through all of it, assuming I actually get the tattoo, that that will work to take my mind off the pain.

So, friends who have tattoos, what else do you have in mind for me to consider on this journey? It’s a fairly large tattoo, it will probably span most of the back of my calf, but I’d like to do it all in one sitting if possible. I’m so excited because of the meaning behind the tattoo, but again, super nervous. I hope I can do it. I’m going to do the best I can to push through the pain and get it done, because, quite frankly, thinking about not having the tattoo actually makes me rather sad. Maybe that’ll be all the motivation I need to get it done, no matter what the dry run tells me. I’ll post updates after tomorrow.