Playlist Positivity by Natalie Noel Truitt

Hey, guys! Welcome to our first post since our big blog event. 
I have an assignment for you. Obviously you don’t have to do it, but if you do? Maybe it’ll improve your day just a little bit. 
These last couple of months I’ve really been relying on music, and today I’m just going to share a few of them that have really impacted me. If you have time, give them a listen. 🙂 
1.) Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North 

2.) Holding Onto You by Twenty-one Pilots 

3.) To the Dreamers by For King and Country

4.) Hold On by Tobymac 

5.) This is the Time by Superchick 
Even if you’ve heard these before sometimes it can help to listen again. These were all songs I’ve heard before and just needed to hear them again at the right time. 

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Find Hope…. Find Yourself by Katie Benson 

   
  I am sitting here with tears running down my face and watery eyes. It’s Thanksgiving. I should be thankful that I just spent the whole day at my grandparents’, but I’m not. Let me let you in on something. My mom, brother, and I just came home after a long day with my mamaw and papaw. We had previously dropped my sister and her boyfriend back at the house. So, when we came home with leftovers, they both just sat there. Her boyfriend even shut the door while we were taking things to the kitchen. I made a slight comment that they weren’t going to help and then said louder that it would be okay because my mom and I could do it. As soon as I came back in with two heavy plates, my sister started cussing me out and calling me names, saying she heard everything I said. And for a person like me, who doesn’t cuss, I made a comment. And she retorted, still calling me names. I walked back to the car and got more platters from the back seat, this time when I walked back into the house tying to hide how I really felt, she stood up as to challenge me. I placed the things in the kitchen, came into my room, locked the door, and here I am.    The thing is, I don’t remember the last time she said one nice thing to me. Some people have bullies that take their lunch money, my bully takes away pieces of my life. I am so broken and hurt by the way she treats me. I am to the point where I have no hope and belief that I will get through my last year at home. I barely know what the word hope means to me. It’s almost as if it aligns with making a wish at 11:11 or when you blow candles out at your birthday. Those two things seem so silly, so is having hope, too? I have to say, I don’t know. I mean I pray. I believe in prayer. But, hope? 

I googled hope and it says this: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. So hope is a feeling, just as hate and love, though it is of expectation. Well, I am beginning to expect hatred and pain. Would that then make me desire pain almost? I don’t know. 

    You might think, her initials look familiar. I wrote once for The Hope Movement. It wasn’t recently, though. July of 2014, to be nearly exact. So, you didn’t read my post. It’s okay, you didn’t miss out on anything, except for a semi-sad post. It’s true, I teared up when I reread it and I actually lived through it. But, that’s not why you are reading this. You are probably here because this has a really cool title that I actually haven’t even written yet. So, let me make it worth your while. Don’t leave or scroll just yet.

    I wrote about giving hope to others my first time here, this time I want to express why I hope. Which, I am very curious if it is similar to why you hope. Everyone lives a different life and goes through their own struggles, but you already knew that. The thing is, through those hard times, we struggle to find light in why it is happening to us. Like, why did I work so hard to get where I am and about to graduate if I can’t even afford college. Here, I am hoping that money falls from the sky just so I don’t have to take out loans. I would be happy if that happened, but we know that money doesn’t grow on trees and that it won’t fall out of the sky. So, why do I hope that that would happen? I hope because it is human nature. Okay, let me clarify. It is not human nature to hope for money to fall out the sky! It is human nature to hope, dream, and explore the unknown. (I wrote something similar to that in my history paper.) 

   We all hope for something to happen that we know may or may not happen. That is why we also pray. See, prayers are answered if you pray continuously. So, do things happen because we hope continuously? Like, that one time we hoped and hoped we would finally get straight A’s and it happened…so we kept hoping for it to happen again. 

   Let me fast forward to something that happened more recently… 

   It’s Christmas day and nearly eighty degrees outside. My small family of four plus my sister’s boyfriend had already opened our presents on Christmas Eve. So, all to do is get ready and make a few desserts to take to my grandparents’ house. Sounds easy, right? It was around nine o’clock a.m. when my sister finally came into my room to tell me that my mom had been awake all night, sick. That’s when I got up to see how she was. I quickly got dressed and went into the living room to see my mom sitting on the couch. Let’s just say she doesn’t look herself at all. My brother and I soon left with my mom to my grandparents’ house in her car. The majority of the day was pretty good. I sat by my mom’s head and covered her with blankets as I began sweating (Louisiana weather). My family kept saying that I was being such a good daughter, but I just didn’t like seeing her like that. Around five o’clock p.m., my grandma urged my mom to go to the ER. So, I took her. I just sat there while doctors came in and were feeling where she was in pain. I kept hoping that they would just say it was nothing and give her something for the pain. Around eleven p.m. she told me to go home, so I gathered my stuff to walk out the door. When I went to hug her, I broke into tears. I was so scared to lose her, or for something major to be wrong. I stood there apologizing to her for crying, the stress and pain had really gotten to me. I left ten minutes later to go back to my grandparents’ to get all of our stuff, to home, then back to the ER to give my mom some stuff. I cried myself to sleep that night, I felt that my hope and love wasn’t enough. I even questioned my faith during my hectic night.

    She’s fine now, but when I look back, my faith, love for my mom, and hope that she would get better, kept me going. I have to say, there is nothing that will break you, like a parent in the hospital depending on others. 

    After two holidays gone bad, I realize that hope is more than an expectation or desire. To me, hope is a part of life. I hope for better days to come and more importantly better family gatherings. I hope that my mom never gets sick again, like she was. I hope that my sister will realize how she treats me is wrong. I also hope that my words make you think differently. 

    Everyone has a clock upon their life, and whether you are depressed or joyful, I wish that you hope. Like I said, it’s a part of my life, so why not make it a part of yours? There will be a moment in your life where you look up and find yourself where yo had hoped to be. I definitely have a first hand account of this, since I used to be depressed and suicidal. I never thought I would see myself at eighteen, giving my testimony, my story. But, on one of those days when I had a razor to my wrist, I gave up and found a ray of hope for better times. Now, years later, I have a glowing ball of hope and haven’t gone back. Remember, today will always be counting down, but there is tomorrow. And there will be a tomorrow if you find hope today.

    Oh…, the reason why I hope is because I got tired of finding myself in darkness. I rather hope for more light in my life, than sit against a locked door and cry. Did you know that if you open the door that you have closed in life, you will not only find yourself, but so many people that have gone through something so similar that you are facing? Turns out, none of us are alone. Because of those that have found hope during their dark days, you have someone to reach out to. And hey, it doesn’t hurt to try…I’ve done both and I have to say it’s one of the best things I have ever done.

Good Things by Cierra Ammons 

  

We all know some days are harder than others. Sometimes it’s just the little things that bug us, maybe a teacher is in a bad mood or Mom is mad over our messy room or we have too much homework. Sometimes it’s bigger things like news of a death, divorce, or an issue with a lifelong friend. Sometimes it’s nothing in particular that triggers a rough day. These days often come without our permission, there whether we want them to be or not.This quote presents a challenge – at least, to me. I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit here lately, ever since I first came across it when looking for quotes for a birthday gift for a friend of mine. “There is something good in every day.” Really? I mean, what about those days that just don’t feel good at all?

I’m writing here a challenge to whoever reads this, an invitation to join me. Here it is, mid-February, nearly a month and a half into 2016. I don’t know how the year has been for you so far, whether it’s been better than last year or is looking like the worst ever. I don’t know if you’re still hopeful or totally beaten down. But I want to invite you to join me, to look for the blessings, no matter how large or small, that the Lord gives us every day. Whether that’s a good grade on a paper, your favorite snack in the pantry after school, an encouraging song on the radio, or extra snuggles from your pet, there is something every day. Look for it. Write it down. Better yet, today, as you think of yours, write it in the comments. Keep a journal for the rest of the year in an actual book or on your phone of the little things you see every day that bring a smile to your face. Then, at the end of the year, look back at it and see all the blessings God has given you throughout the year, on the bad days as well as those that weren’t so terrible.

I want to leave you with this, a bit of encouragement for the journey: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8 NIV) Let’s think of these things, the good things that happen each day, and praise our Lord for them, together.

Hope is a Choice by Megan Welch 

  

Hope is a feeling, a choice, and a way of life. 

Hope is not a ‘sin’. It is not a bad thing. Hope is something that can bring joy and peace back into your life.
You have to make a conscious decision to hope. You have to choose to let go of the fear of hope. Everyone tells you to “not get your hopes up”, but what if that’s exactly that we need to do? Choose hope instead of fear. If we always choose to hope even in the face of trials, then those trials will diminish in importance. If after a letdown, you choose to hope that something better is coming, then you cannot stay in a depressed state. Hope is the opposite of depression. 

Hope brings joy and cheer as long as you choose it. Hope is a lifestyle and it is only something you can choose.
-Megan Welch

A Poem by Matti Wells 

  
You say for me to be frustrated is like

A prisoner being frustrated he’s in prison

And maybe you aren’t that far from the truth

I am prisoner, jail, and warden, 

I put myself through what I’m going through

I’m trapped inside my mind while

I watch myself wither away

Everyone needs me stronger, happier

But I’m struggling to breathe today.

So while you tell me everything I’ve done wrong

My trust for you to be there crumbles

And then you ask why we can’t get along.

I stuff myself so far down inside

I think I’ve forgotten how to react in real time

I’m asking you to see past the facade of fake smiling

And say

You’re worth it.

I’m proud.

Keep trying.

God is your Screenwriter by Kenya 

  
God has a plan for you.
This piece of encouragement has become standard and rhetorical. Youve heard it a hundred times and now it just floats right through one ear and out the other. 
But let’s take a closer look at what this really means and rediscover how encouraging this should be.
Imagine your favorite movie or tv show. You got it? Yeah, that one. The one you know every single line in and how each action impacts the next. Maybe you even know every characters back stories and have some major ships for them.
You remember your favorite character? No, not the main. Think about your favorite /supporting/ character. Preferably that one that no one notices. Now imagine how that character feels. He or she probably doesn’t realize how important they are to the plot, right? Maybe they’re even the driving force of the whole plot, or of a major character arc! they don’t know that.
But you and the person who made the movie does. 

The screenwriter had a plan for that character.

The character doesn’t know it. He or she might think that their nobody important. But what would happen if they weren’t in the story? The absent of their presence would forever leave a gaping hole in the elaborate tapestry or the story!
God is your Screenwriter.
And He has a plan.
So hang on. You’re needed. 

God’s Got You by Teresa 

  
One of the most dangerous things about anorexia is that you usually don’t realize you have it until you’re in deep. There are different forms of it. Typically, Anorexia Nervosa & Anorexia Bulimia are the 2 most common types. Anorexia Nervosa is commonly starving yourself to lose weight & Anorexia Bulimia is purging your food after eating.  

But no one starts off wanting anorexia or at least if they do, they don’t realize the mess that follows. It usually starts off just wanting to lose weight. Your weight plagues your mind & body, you feel fat, you hate how you look in the mirror & how your body feels, so you start to take the steps to lose weight. Maybe it starts off in healthy ways, going off soda, eating right, not eating sugar. But the pounds are stubborn, they come off slow & at times, it’s all you focus on.

But that’s when Anorexia comes in. Losing weight & how you look becomes almost your every thought. You wake up thinking about it, what you’ll eat, how you look, how you can lose the weight, you go to bed thinking about it. You could start working out; that will help to some degree.  

You meet a goal & you feel so good but your weight never stays the same no matter how hard you try to keep it, it fluctuates up & down. But once you start going down, you want to see how far you can go. 2 pounds under the goal, that new weight has become your goal. You keep losing & when you gain, oh crud…it ruins your whole day. You skip a meal; see if you can make up for it. Maybe the next day when you get on the scale you’ll be back down again. If not it may take several days of miserable skipping meals. You’re hungry, but its ok, you’ll be thinner again soon, pretty. People will like you; they’ll think you’re beautiful, you’ll be happy. Lies.  

You may get the attention you want for a bit, but you’re struggling; struggling to eat 3 times a day, unless they’re miniscule meals or maybe just lettuce & dressing. You may be counting calories or you may be counting carbs, I’ve done both. You’re working out, eating next to nothing & you look ‘better’ but not good enough. After all, if you get lower, you’ll be thinner, you’ll lose that bulge. Hold up…you’re already 20, 30, 40 pounds lighter, you’ve passed the goal. The goal apparently wasn’t good enough, you can do better, you can get thinner, you can feel better about yourself. More lies.

People ask you to hang out & you can’t eat in front of them. You eat nothing, everything around you looks so good its torture, but you know you can’t eat it because you’ll get fat. Even one bite! It will kill you, in your head anyway. You’ve come down so far, you can’t go back. You look around at the clothes at the store that you’ve never been able to fit into & now you can. But wait…if you buy those…what if you go up again? You won’t be able to wear them. And if you go down further, they’ll just be like your other clothes you can’t fit in anymore, so baggy & loose. You’re still looking at yourself in the mirror, finding every flaw & when you eat too much, you lay in bed at night feeling it, grabbing at it, crying, wishing you could yank it off.

When will you be thin enough? Good enough? Pretty enough? When you’re thinner. Lies. You’re so thin now you have no energy. People are starting to whisper behind your back. They see how thin you are, they’re starting to tell you, you look too thin. “No, I’m not! I’m fat!” You say to them & to yourself, but everyone else around you ways more than you. Except for the short tiny girl in the corner & the pretty girls of course. Your hair is starting to fall out now. You’re miserable all of the time, but you’ve finally hit a good weight. You feel good about yourself, but you could always be thinner. You’re eating one meal a day probably, or enough to feed a baby split up 2 or 3 times.

The problem is, yes, you’re happy with how you look, but what if you go over? Yes, you have the weight down for right now but what if you eat just a little too much? You’ll go over, you’d better skip. And you’re miserable, constantly anxious about your weight & what other people see & think. You’re depressed now. Your weight is never good enough & everyone is telling you, you’re unhealthy. You look like a skeleton! Then why can’t you see it? Your body aches & you’re tired all the time. You start to care about nothing. The world turns dark & grey, where’s the color? The happiness? No one cares about you, you realize.

Sure, your mom begs you to eat & she cries. She’s afraid you’re going to die, but she probably doesn’t care either. Your friends all left now, what happened? You never want to hang out anymore. You’re too tired, you can’t eat with them, you’re too miserable, there’s nothing you have in common anymore. Because all you can think about is your pain, how you hurt, how thin you are, how thin you need to be, how miserable you are. ..Why are you even trying?

Why bother anymore? Why keep trying to live? It’s so hard, just kill yourself. No one will care.  

I’m stopping here, there really isn’t much farther to go. Sure, you can cut, burn, hate yourself more than you already do. But this is what anorexia & bulimia do to you. They kill you. They torture you mind & body. This is how bad it gets unless you stop. There doesn’t seem any hope at this point, but there is.  

There’s Jesus. Jesus never leaves you through your pain, your depression; no matter what it is, He doesn’t leave you. He didn’t leave me through anorexia. He was the only thing that brought me out the other side when I felt I had no one & nothing. The hope you can hold onto, is that Jesus, your hope. Will never let you down & never let you go. You may go through a lot, but He will never leave your side & He will bring you through the night to the morning, no matter how painful the situation. It’s hard to trust The Maker of the Universe that holds your life in His hand without faltering. But I promise, He’s got this. He’s got you.

And I’ll be holding on to you… by Adriana Gabrielle

So, its 2016 and looking back on last year I will say that it was a hard year, but even though it was a hard year there are lots of things I learned.

I specifically want to share one of those things with you today.

THM pic

What I learned is: Not everyone will understand who you are or what you want to do, but there is at least one person who is there holding on to you the whole time and ready to help and support you.

This year was more of a learning curve for me than usual. There was a lot of trying to ‘find myself’ and figure out who I really am and want to be. And with that came a lot of confusion. Not only for myself but for the people around me as they didn’t know what the heck I was trying to do. I still have a lot to figure out in the way of what I’m going to do with my life but I’ve started to figure a little bit out and its confusing and scary. and its still frightening that I still have my whole life ahead of me and I’ve only lived 18 years of it so far!

One thing I’ve discovered about now being a young adult is that I feel like I’m a Grade 6 little girl who is joining youth group all over again. (Ok, I was going to say high school or junior high or something like that but I’ve never gone to school… #homeschooled) Basically, you may be going in with a few of your friends or you may be entering this thing alone. From there its up to you to try and find some new friends or at least get to know others so your surroundings don’t seem as terrifying. I’m in this stage both literally (I just joined the young adults group at my church and I feel like the annoying little kid. ) and figuratively. But despite this journeying into a whole new area of your life, there is always someone who will have your back. For me in this last year, I was just so focused on meeting new people and I had this mentality that because I was entering this new stage in my life and meeting new people that I needed to find support from these people… That didn’t last long cause oh my was I slapped back into reality. I mean I’m still trying to figure this all out but there were often times I would just be so frustrated and upset.

I tried so hard to change myself to fit in to these new groups of people in my new stage of life, to try and be more like them and it has caused (and probably still will for a bit) a lot of confusion on top of my already trying to figure out who I want to become. Maybe its because I’m the kind of person who cares what you think about me and how I look to you and its my downfall. But it really is a struggle I have. Because I want to please people. I hate the idea of disappointing someone with how I act, talk, look, or the things I like.

But despite all this confusion (that is kinda sorting itself out) I realized that I had forgotten about all the people I already had in my life who love me, right here right now. The people who were there, holding me close every time I cried or felt upset and lost. The people who always did what they could to help me. I learned that it is so important to hold on to those people because they are of such great value and if you have any friends or family willing to help you, don’t lose those people who could greatly impact you as you journey through life.

 

 

 

What I Wish I Would’ve Known by Robyn Gould 

  
When my dear friend Natalie first asked me to be a part of this series, I wasn’t entirely sure what to write about.
Then it hit me, what would I want my fifteen year old self to know? 
Because when you are fifteen with razor blades hidden in every drawer and long sweaters hiding bruises that rough hands leave, it’s so easy to believe that your entity is the broken little skeleton that you see in the mirror. 
But if I could go back and talk to the child that I used to be, I would tell her that her bones are made of iron and in her heart roars a lion that cannot be tamed. 
The scars fade, the sweaters turn to short sleeves, and the brittle bones that are holding your small frame together will become strong with time.
The trauma that you survived for eighteen years will become a part of you yes, but it will also become your strength. 
Since you have known the feeling of brutal hands you will show the world a kindness that is rarely felt. One day you will be eighteen with light darting like fireflies through your dark brown eyes and it will be a light so bright that when gone, those around you will ache to feel it again.
The sadness that you feel is not eternal. 
It’s been almost five hundred days since you last picked up a blade.
You’ve been free from their hands for seven months.
You made it.
And to every fragile, shaking little one out there right now, you will make it too.

Hold on, Pain Ends by Kelsey Gulick 

  

When I was asked if I could write this post, I thought I was accepting one of the easiest assignments I’ve even been given. Ever since I accepted, my life has turned into crappy, painful event after crappy, painful event. 
 Hold on, pain ends. It started sounding funny to me almost. From the outside, it’s easy to look at a pain as having ended, but it’s not always that way on the inside. For 18 years I’ve had to watch my friends struggle with toxic relationships, abuse, addiction, depression, injury, and all-over sheer bad luck. Pain doesn’t end, I thought, There’s no end to it. Not a one of us is without pain and it never ENDS.
 Perhaps it doesn’t end in the way that we want it to. That’s what I’m coming to realize after feeling depression free for 6 months and washing all my progress down the drain once more. It’s what I’m realizing as I watch the people close to me fight for sanity and survival in relationships they almost escaped this time. I’m realizing that as one person who I’d never expected to have gotten so close to tells me she’s sorry that she’s not good enough a listener for me (which, if you’re reading this, is a complete and total lie).
 Pain is a part of every day life. We fall down and scrape our knees to learn that we need to be careful running on certain terrain. We make mistakes to grow from. Sometimes we’re put through trials that we can’t understand at all, but in the end makes us a stronger person.
 “Tears are like a nosebleed from the heart. When you trip in the hall you get a nosebleed. When you trip in life, you cry.” -Minori, Toradora! 
 What I’ve really come to learn lately is that pain isn’t just going to end. It’s about who you have beside you to help you pick up the pieces when you fall down. It’s about those people who won’t laugh at you for your tears and your struggles. It’s about accepting yourself and others for all that you are, including the things that you’d rather keep most private.
 Hold on, pain ends. I used to say that and take it so literally. A year ago I was really considering suicide over all my messed up parts and roles in life because I thought that I wasn’t worth it and would never be accepted. A year later, I’m not perfect and I still struggle a lot, but 2015 was the best year of my life as I learned that even with all of my flaws I am accepted and loved by those that I accept and love back. 
 Hold on, pain ends. You’re not alone in this battle. You’re never alone and you never know when you will meet that person that understands everything.