two thousand nineteen

wow.

we did it.

we survived twenty eighteen.

it was one of the hardest, craziest, funniest, most painful, and surprising years yet, but it was just the start to something even greater.

this is two thousand nineteen. this is a year full of love, full of hope, and full of new beginnings. this is where we stop looking at everything like it’s an obligation, and start looking at it like it’s an opportunity to give ourselves and our doings to God. this is the year we get to explore new things and take crazy adventures.

this is my year. this is your year. this is our year.

let’s do this.

whether you have many goals and resolutions, or you’re treating it like any other day, we all are given this new year, this new day, to make the most of it. so let’s make the rest of of our lives, the best of our lives.

with love,

suzie lynne

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answering your questions!

Upon realization that I often forget to answer people’s questions (so sorry!!), I decided to answer a few frequently asked ones/ questions I really liked! With that being said, let’s get started!!

  1. How do you find time to balance everything with school, sports, church, and doctor appointments? With my chronic nerve condition (which, by the way, was officially diagnosed as amplified pain syndrome/ complex regional pain syndrome), I spend a lot of time at home and usually have a lot of time on my hands but even then it can become very stressful/difficult to do homework, bible studies, dance activities, write, etc. I have learned to prioritize EVERYTHING. I’m definitely a list kind of person so everyday I write out what needs to get done and the order of importance. Of course, I always put my bible studies, devotions, and prayer journal at the top but sometimes it’s difficult with the mass amounts of homework/makeup work I have to do. However, through learning to prioritize, it’s allowed me to put full focus on one task until I finish and move on to the next task. It is a lot more difficult to stay on task with my knee pain but when I’m having a good day, I try to get most of my work done. I have also learned that if I really want to do something, then I should make time for it and not wait until I’m “free.” I was, and occasionally still am, finding myself filling free time with things like social media or watching tv, but when I started the day prioritizing, I managed to accomplish most of the things I wanted to. The most important lesson I learned was to make plans around my relationship with Jesus. When we start with God, stay with God, and end with God, everything else will fall into place according to His will.
  2. What songs do you recommend/are listening to right now? Hmm, well, I really don’t listen to a lot of music (now you’re probably asking “umm are you even a teenager!?” haha yes I am!). Anyways, I listen to a lot of the same music but I’m absolutely loving Lauren Daigle’s new album Look Up Child. It’s SOO good and recommend both of her albums! I also really like the song, Who You Say I Am by Hillsong United. I always love singing to my favorite hymns and like listening to this Church of Christ/acapella radio channel with my family. Other than that, I am a huge Dixie Chicks fan and know every song, hahaha!!
  3. What made you want to start a blog? I was first inspired by Emma Mae Jenkins (y’all should totally go check her out!) because I saw how she started this as a way to reach out to others and saw how God really moved through her and her words. I really liked the idea of being able share God’s word through some of my thoughts. I also believed that if my story could help someone else, then I should share it. Plus, I think blogs are pretty cool and read a lot of them. If you are interested in starting one, my best advice would be not to get discouraged if you don’t get tons of views when you first start. Remember why you started it, to write your own thoughts and stories, not to see if you could get tons of views.
  4. What advice would you give to someone thinking of becoming a Christian? Do it!!! The longer you wait, the harder it is to take that step. I’ve been in the exact same situation you have, coming up with every excuse not to become baptized. I thought that God wouldn’t accept me because I wasn’t good enough but that’s exactly what we have to realize: we aren’t good enough, not one of us! but that’s exactly why Jesus died for you, me, and everyone else on this earth!! He took death on a cross for you so that you may find your worth in Him. There will always be excuses not to become baptized such as “I’m already a good person.” or “God will never love me after what I’ve done.” but if He accepted me, a sinner who binge ate her feelings and judged others for not being like her, then He will accept you. I was scared, too, but also had to learn how to humble myself before God. Don’t wait ten months to make the decision of becoming a Christian like a did. The Holy Spirit can only help you and the sooner He is in your heart, the sooner you have that help! I’ll be praying for you, friend, and hope to call you my brother or sister very soon ❤
  5. What bible verses have been on your mind? Such a good question! I have a lot that typically go through my mind but one that has been sticking with me for a while would be Jude 1:20-23; “But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt. Save other by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear- hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” Jude, the author, is telling us this is our calling from God: encouraging each other through wholesome faith and genuine prayers and keeping ourselves in God’s love. Jude is also telling us that we should hate the sin (stained clothes) but not the sinner. Psalm 119:114; “You are my place of quiet retreat; I wait for Your word to renew me.” has also been a real eye opener because it reminds me that even through the storms of life, God protects and strengthens us in our time of waiting.
  6. If you could visit anywhere, where would it be? For vacation, I would love to visit Denmark. I love the history of the country and the different parts of the country. You can see the city aspect of Copenhagen or the rural countryside of Skagen. For missionary, I would love to go to a lot of different Central American countries such as Honduras. I also want to go to Romania for both vacation and missionary. I know a couple from my church who visit Romania often and it sounds amazing. I’m not much of a traveler but I hope that wherever God takes me is for His good works.
  7. What’s your best piece of relationship advice? In any relationship, my best piece of advice would be to let small things go. I like to control everything so when someone doesn’t do what I want them to, I tend to freak out, but you can’t control another person’s actions, so learning how to not get upset over silly things and causing arguments over things that won’t effect us in the future has been a challenge. I also suggest making sure you and your boyfriend/girlfriend discuss what you want and don’t want out of a relationship before you start getting more serious. Always be honest and don’t let stubbornness or awkwardness ruin a life time of awesome. (yes, I realize it’s more than one piece of advice but if you want to read more, check out a previous post about my relationship:)
  8.  What book are you currently reading/ what devotion are you working on? I am currently reading Praying the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Songs of Solomon by Elmer L. Towns. It’s basically reading the book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Songs of Solomon but from a personal perspective and in “prayer form.” It also includes Character Sketches which outline characteristics of fools, trollops, and mischievous people, but in modern times. Strongly suggest this book! It has a lot of good teachings and helps relate all three of these books to our lives.
  9. What’s your favorite thing about church camp? Everything. I love the people, the lessons. the atmosphere, and the reality that Jesus is real and He is coming back. There are so many memories associated with church camp and many things to be thankful for!!
  10. How do you incorporate Jesus into your everyday life? What a great question! I will say it’s not always easy but if your passionate enough about making Jesus more apart of your life then there are so many things you can do! I like to write bible verses or quotes on note cards and put them all around my bedroom and bathroom. Right when I wake up, they are one of the first things I see which allows me to ponder on these thoughts through out the day. Then, right before I go to bed, it’s the last thing I see. I also like to drive in silence sometimes and allow God to talk to me about my day. This way, my mind is better prepared for upcoming events. If I don’t drive in silence, then I prefer to listen to Christian/worship music in the morning. This way, these thoughts are also with me throughout the day. I eat lunch by myself on odd days at my school (we have block scheduling) so I like to listen to podcasts or read. If you have a lot of free time at school or in a certain class, you may try reading other Christian blogs or spending time praying. Sometimes, I like to bring my bible or use my phone to read a passage. When reading scripture, read it like it’s for you! Don’t look at it like it’s old and doesn’t relate to you because it very much so does!! Put yourself in the situation, take every bit of it to heart, pray into it, and watch it become active in your life (great advice via Sadie Robertson). Do your best not to make spending time with Jesus seem like work because then you won’t want to do it. We should be excited to learn something new and spend time working on our relationship wit God!!!
  11. If you have any advice for your past and future self, what would it be? For my past self, it would be not to listen to what others are saying about you or your body. Your beauty comes from within the heart, not from other’s opinions of you. I would also tell myself not to stress about all those small things that don’t matter, like forgetting the parts of a flower during a 7th grade science test. Always do your best and remember the moments that matter most. The last thing I would tell my younger self is to not be so hard on yourself and others. Believe it or not, I was probably the most judgmental person in middle school. Everyone always told me I was so sweet and couldn’t hurt a fly but I hated everyone, including myself. To everyone I talked bad about (and thought bad things about), I’m sorry, and hope you know I really do care about you and will always try to be a friend to you. The advice I give to my future self: don’t give up hope. God didn’t bring you this far just for you to give up; so get up, be awesome, and praise Jesus! There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.
  12. What advice do you have for people who have recently become single/ have been single for awhile? Being single is not a bad thing at all. Just like being in a relationship, being single has many perks. If you’ve just recently become single, take this time to really reflect and ask questions about your previous relationship. What lessons (good and bad) have you learned? What things would you repeat in your next relationship? What things do you not want to repeat? What should you look for in the next person? What would you not look for? All of these questions are great to focus on. If you’ve been single for awhile, do not fret! Take this time to focus on yourself and your relationship with God. How is God making you into a person fit for being in a relationship? He’s teaching patience, trust, obedience, and allowing you to figure more about who you are. To everyone single (or not single), I would advise not to rush God’s timing. Jesus specifically set apart a time for being single so that you can solely rely on Him.  He will place someone in your life when the both of you are ready. Always keep in mind that having a boyfriend or girlfriend is not the root of all happiness AND not where you will find your identity because… JESUS IS!!!!  Learn what it means to be happy in Jesus before trying to find your happiness in other people:))))
  13. Why did you all of a sudden start talking about your knees/nerve condition? I’m, for the most part, a very private person except to those closest to me so when the knee pain started, I didn’t like to tell people about it. I didn’t want people feeling sorry for me and treating me different because I couldn’t do normal things like going to the bathroom. Recently, I decided to become a lot more outspoken and honest about it because people didn’t understand. No one ever will understand unless they have the condition themselves but I was noticing that people didn’t believe me just because I looked like a normal girl on the outside. I wanted people to become more informed that although I look and sometimes act like a normal teen, there is something far worse going on inside my body. Not only was this for me and those around me, but those few other people who suffer from similar conditions. Knowing there is someone else who’s been/is there helps give a little more hope into that person’s life. To all my amps/crps warrior’s out there, you are strong and we will beat this together!!
  14. What should you do if you’re struggling with a friendship? I have definitely been in your shoes when it comes to struggling friendships. It’s never easy and always hurts but give it time. Always be honest and upfront about how you feel but also make sure that your words aren’t dividing the friendship but are being said to unite the friendship. Sometimes, both sides need a break to think things through and properly heal. There is nothing wrong with telling the other person you need a little time to yourself and time to become healthier. That doesn’t mean avoid the situation because you don’t want to deal with it, but use the time to really reflect. Don’t ever feel guilty about a friendship ending if you have done everything you can to fix it. There will be friendships that aren’t meant to last forever but you can always cherish and be thankful for the memories and good things brought from it. If God is pulling you in one direction, don’t try to fight it. It may not be the easiest way, but it will be the best way.
  15. Pineapple on pizza???? (this isn’t a frequent question but I thought it was funny) what a controversial question but… yes and no. I like it but would rather eat mushroom and black olive pizza. Everyone of you is probably disgusted but I promise it’s so good.
  16. What has been your favorite memory of 2018 so far? I would say meeting Cody, my boyfriend, in person for the first time, meeting Ingrid, seeing all my friends, camp, and literally any moment not spent cooped up in my room. I got to meet so many new and inspiring people and go on some crazy adventures even with my knees. The year isn’t over yet but I’m excited to see what else God has in store for the year.
  17. What is your favorite quote? This is a tough question because anyone who has seen my quote book would be like, “how?” but right now it would probably by a quote by Morgan Harper Nichols. “She will stand tall on the rooftops of her worries and proclaim into the depth of a starless night: ‘I will make it through this. By grace, I will be alright'” When I first read this quote, I was like, “WOAH!” because even through all the storms in my life, I will be okay! It’s a great reminder to stomp out the worries Satan puts in our minds and to never lose hope.
  18. What is something you’re not proud of? Wow. Deep. I will say that I don’t regret any of the decisions I made because I believe those mistakes are some of the most valuable lessons in my life but I am not proud of the way I used to treat people. Like I said in an earlier question, I was really mean and judged so many other people for things that they sometimes couldn’t even control. I never want to think of myself as so much better than everyone but instead be humble enough to admit that I’m not better than you. Every person is unique and has different strengths and weaknesses but that does not mean one is more loved than the other. Jesus died for everyone, not just for me, but for you too.
  19. How have you overcome body issues? I definitely did not accomplish this on my own and I definitely still have issues with my body. In 9th grade, I started to dive deeper into God’s word and look into everything He calls me. Instead of pointing out my insecurities I started telling myself the things I loved. Instead of looking at my nose and thinking it’s too big, I started saying I loved the color of my eyes. A previous post I wrote, Binge Eating, goes more into this.
  20. Have you ever struggled with your relationship with God? Yes, without a doubt, I have struggles in my relationship with Jesus. A lot of it has to do with how much trust I put in Him. I doubt the promises He’s told me and start to feel uncertain about what He’s doing in my life. When this happens, I feel a lot more stress and anxiety. I also try to control a lot of things that I are out of my control. God is constantly telling me to wait for Him but I often become impatient and upset that things aren’t moving fast enough. We all go through seasons in our life but even when my relationship with God is weak, He always places something or someone in my life to help me grow closer to Him.

I hope I was able to answer questions you may or may not have had! I really enjoyed writing this and may do more later on in the future. If you have any more questions or would like me to expand on one, please feel free to contact me!

With Love,

Suzie Lynne

Fear of the Unknown

I have this fear of the unknown; the anxiety creeping back in. What if I can never do the things I wanted to? 

I have a chronic nerve condition in both knees. I cannot officially be diagnosed due to the rarity of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) but my doctors are still taking tests to get to the bottom of my condition.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is the damaging or malfunctioning of the nerves in a particular area. CRPS is not the type of thing you can have surgery for and expect everything to be better; it’s life long and in most cases, the surgery would only be worse. It causes discoloration around the area and down my legs. I also have excessive weakness due to my muscles deteriorating. The worst part is the indescribable amount of pain that is far more extreme and on a different level than any injury.

It all started the week after I came home from a school trip to Washington DC in June 2017. I had felt some pain in my left knee but didn’t think much about it until later when I felt it in my right knee also. About a week later, I collapsed in my living room because the pain was so strong I couldn’t walk.

It’s been 16 months since the knee pain started and there has never been a moment where I couldn’t feel it. I’ve been to the emergency room twice, was in 7 months of physical and hydro therapy, have had about every knee brace you can think of, seen 5, soon 6, different doctors, been in a wheelchair, and have to use crutches almost everyday. I also have to take eight pills a night because I don’t get the right amount of supplements and vitamins. My pain has increased more than I can imagine since the first day but I do have good and bad days. However, even on a rare good day, it’s hard to accomplish anything.

On a good day, I manage to get out of bed and maybe show up late to school. I can stand just long enough to brush my teeth and wash my face but I have to do everything else sitting. Sometimes, I can put my own shoes on but most of the time I wear shoes that I can slip on without having to buckle or tie them. I typically cannot wear shorts because the coldness of teacher’s classrooms will turn my legs purple. I am able to drive to school a lot of the time since it doesn’t usually increase the amount of pain. I am too weak to hold up my own body weight (approx 100 lbs) and adding a 20 pound backpack makes it even harder so I use crutches to help take some of the weight off my knees. On a bad day, the pain is so miserable, almost unbearable, that I can only focus on it.

On bad days, I cannot do anything. I usually stay in bed or on the couch all day watching tv. If it’s nice out, I sit on my front porch to get fresh air because I can’t leave my house. I only get up to use the bathroom and sometimes get food but someone typically brings my breakfast or lunch to me. I try to catch up on sleep because I cannot make it through an entire night and I’m often woken up by pain. I find myself crying and screaming loudly everyday.

People don’t take my condition into consideration a lot of the time. I can’t really blame them, though, because they’ve never experienced anything like this. They don’t listen when I tell them I have to sit down or they don’t take me seriously when I say I can’t do something. Most of the time, they ignore me and continue to go or try to force me to do it. This is when I’ve learned to take care of myself first and do what I know is best for me. It’s not easy all the time because I don’t want to hurt my friends feelings or be disrespectful to others, but I know my limits better than anyone else.

To put things into a better perspective, here are some examples (all of which I took for granted) of the things I can no longer do that are most likely normal for you: I can’t walk, run, dance, or ride a bike. You might be thinking, “well I’ve seen you walking around town?” but it’s at a much slower pace and is uncomfortable. I can’t ride in a car or on buses for very long because I can feel every little bump in the road. I can’t make plans until the day of because I don’t know how I will feel in the next hour much less in a few days. If I do go somewhere, it’s hard to actually enjoy it. I can’t sleep at night because the severity of my sensitivity and pain escalates by the weight of something as light as a bed sheet or my pant legs covering or touching my knees. I can’t shower without the use of a chair because standing for more than 10 minutes raises pain. Occasionally, my mom has to help me bathe because it’s too difficult for me to do it myself.  When I shave my legs, I can’t shave my knees. I can’t even cut my own toenails or tie my own shoes- someone else has to do it for me.

There’s a lot of things I can’t do anymore and when you’re stuck sitting at home, you spend your time thinking about these things. It’s not only what I can’t do now, but also in my future. I found out in November 2017 that I may not be able to have my own children because I physically would not be able to carry the child. This was a heartbreaking thought to me because I’ve always wanted to be a mother. I also think about college and if I’ll ever really be able to accomplish my goals. There are tons of these thoughts that go through my head but I’m learning more about trusting God with my future.

The fear of not knowing what’s going to happen with me leaves me scared. Whether you have a life changing condition or you live life as a normal teen, we all have this worry. It’s hard not to concentrate on it and question all of God’s motives, but not once in the bible does it say, “worry about it,” “stress over it,” or “figure it out on your own.” However, over and over again it says “Trust God.”

Today, I am choosing to trust God. I want to constantly find a reason in my life to trust Him; to be still and know that He is God. I want to stop crowding my mind with all this doubt and instead rest on the thought that He is everything He has promised. I want to be reminded of His control and His strength. I want to be reminded of His love. I want to live life in His moment, not with a constant fear of “what if?” Today, I am choosing to trust God. What will you choose?

With Love,

Suzie Lynne

PS. I am, in no way, saying that you do not go through pain by having an injury such as breaking a bone. Those were not my intentions and I hope that whatever injury you may be going through is healed by His will. Nerve pain is a much more serious type of pain because it affects the nervous system. I am sorry for any pain you go through and hope you never experience what I have. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to let me know. I will be happy to answer them:)

 

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July 2017- a month after I started feeling pain. We had tried a KT taping technique on my knees and thought it might help while I was at church camp. If you notice my posture, you can tell I could not stand straight and walked bent legged. I also was leaning on my friends for support because it was hard to carry my weight.

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September 2017- I was off crutches about 4 weeks into the school year and was in PT. My therapist was having me try a new brace that was flexible and still allowed me to walk. They put it on the left knee to see if it helped pain any but it did not.

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January 2018- I was put in an immobilizer knee brace to stop the knee from moving completely. After 6 weeks in the brace, I started more physical therapy and then hydro therapy to try and gain motion. They did not help.

IMG_9485 March 2017- my friend took this picture of me walking after I had missed school for a week and had a lot of makeup work. I had little strength then but I had more than I do now because I was able to carry all those books and walk without crutches.

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September 2018- I am on crutches as I visited the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs for my birthday. I have been on crutches since August when I started school and have to use them most places.

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October 2018- my brother took this photo after I fell asleep for the first time in two days. If I sleep on my side then I must use a pillow in between my knees but I cannot stay in that position very long. If I lay on my back, I put a pillow under my knees because I cannot flatten my legs. Notice my blankets are also not touching my knees because the weight makes them hurt more.

 

this one’s for the boys

To start off, I want to say I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for what our society has come to because boys, you do not deserve the unrealistic expectations we give you.

We have created a stereotypical barrier, guideline, or box, in masculinity that you must fit into. If you cross the line, you’ve been labeled as feminine, girly, sissy, etc. You are told to “man up” or “be a man” but what does this mean?

Society says being a man means to tough it up and suck up your feelings. They say that to be a man you can’t show emotions unless it’s anger to show dominance over people and their circumstances. In order to have masculinity, we make you prove it to us.

You, as boys, must prove to your families, your coaches, to girls, to society, and to other boys that they are tough enough to be treated like a man. Things like sports, the amount of women you’ve had sex with, money, fights, height, the drugs or alcohol you’ve consumed, and even the amount of food you can indulge is used to one up each other in who is manlier than the other.

NOTE: there are less extremes then listed above, but those are a few examples I see and examples from a few males I talked to.

I decided to take a survey to better understand how some males felt. 70% of boys said they felt they had to keep their feelings to their self and 90% said they felt there was a barrier in masculinity.

You experience some of the same emotions as girls such as sadness, fear, and anger but why is it so taboo to talk about these experiences? Is it because you feel that talking about them would be crossing the line? Is it because talking about emotions makes you weak? I mean, a man can’t show weakness, right? because society says being a man means being physically strong?

Being a man means taking responsibility. Being a man means doing what’s right for the right reasons. Being a man means standing up and caring for your family, friends, and God. Being a man means being Christ-like in everything you do. Being a man means allowing yourself to have vulnerability and showing your weaknesses because it actually shows strength.

Being a man does not mean trying to one up each other on the “masculinity scale.” Being a man does not mean suppressing your emotions.

I want to say I am sorry, again.

I’m sorry because our society has deemed you as wrong for not wanting to do the things a “man” is expected to do.

There is nothing wrong with not having any desire to do drugs or alcohol. There is nothing wrong with choosing not to have careless amounts of sex. There is nothing wrong in expressing how you feel, when you feel it. There is nothing wrong with being a man of Christ.

Our society has set you up. We tell you to act a certain way or else you are not a man, then we become offended and upset with you when you act the exact way we told you to!

I want to say I am sorry one last time.

I’m sorry that our culture has failed to see you as people too.

We don’t support you, especially when it comes to speaking out about the mistreatment you go under. You, too, have been sexually assaulted and gone through countless amounts of abuse but we put you inside this box and make you a predator among everyone. I can’t even comprehend what that must feel like.

Boys, you don’t have to conform to the masculinity standards our culture has created for you. You do not have to prove yourself to anyone because God already sees you as chosen. Share your emotions and share your experiences; don’t keep them bottled up inside you waiting to explode. Be the example of what a real man is; be an example of Jesus.

“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” {1 Peter 5:5}

“For physical training is of some value, but Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” {1 Timothy 4:8}

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” {Galatians 1:10}

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” {James 5:16} 

With Love,

Suzie Lynne

PS. I was inspired to write this after watching the documentary, “The Mask You Live In” because it talked a lot about issues and situations among boys and men that I had not fully grasped. I highly recommend watching it and hope to hear your feed back! It’s something everyone, boys and girls, should begin to understand.

 

 

 

 

Dating for a Purpose

I have contemplated writing about my relationship for a while because it is a very private area in my life but I thought I’d share insight and outlooks of how we have overcome many challenges of being in a teen, Christian relationship. I hope you might take mine as a Godly example in your current or future status. With that being said, lets start from the beginning (before Cody).

I always wanted to fall in love with Prince Charming and live like Cinderella, but as I got older, I realized the fairy tale dream wasn’t always realistic so rather than focusing on love, I became more interested in my studies and with friends and family. In school, I noticed middle school/junior high “relationships” and how involved people got in them. “Couples” were getting way ahead of themselves without being grounded in any morals and it made me uncomfortable to be around people in relationships.

NOTE: my binge eating and words said about my body also played a major role in feeling uncomfortable.

In the summer of 2017, three years later, I was still awkward (and still am haha) but I had grown a lot in my relationship with Jesus and started becoming interested in my future husband, so I made a list of standards. Usually when I tell people I have standards they think it’s because I am stuck up, but girls (and boys too!) take this to heart!!!!!!!!!!!  IT IS GOOD TO HAVE STANDARDS. Not the “tall, dark, and handsome” kind but the kind that remind you of Jesus. Here’s a few from my list:

  1. must love and seek God above all things
  2. a psalm 1 friend to everyone
  3. a good lookin’ heart which equals a good lookin’ man!
  4. patient, kind, etc.
  5. knows that I am not perfect just like him
  6. devotes everything he does to God and gives the glory back to Him

I encourage everyone to make a list of their own standards based on Jesus but not any one person. Then you are able to reflect on it before dating or entering a relationship. If a person did not have majority of the things on my list, then I did not date them or consider them as a future husband. (sorry this is somewhat off topic but I think it’s important for people to understand)

Anyways, a month later in July 2017, I met Cody through a really close friend. He was super funny but for like a week we never talked; soon after, the conversations became longer and more in-depth. Fast forward a few weeks we both decided we had liked each other but he wouldn’t become my boyfriend until he asked my father. As things started to progress, we set up boundaries, discussed what we wanted now and in the future, and most importantly we made our first priority to always be God.

Every relationship requires work no matter how long you’ve been together or how often you see each other but being in a relationship and growing as Christians together has made it easier. As humans, our flesh is weak, which is why we must set up boundaries for what we believe and what the bible has to say about it. We have made promises to each other and to God because we know that temptations are high. Individually, it is much harder to face those temptations, but together in our faith, God is able to use us to strengthen and encourage the other person.

Through out the year, Cody and I have discussed our intentions for the present and future standing of our relationship. The longer we date, the prospect of him becoming my future husband increases. That’s not to be jumping to conclusions, but we both believe in dating for a purpose. Society thinks we are too young to be focusing on our future spouses and in some ways, I agree. As teens we shouldn’t be overworked in trying to find “the one” but wait for God’s timing. I think too many young men and women in this society are dating for their own needs and not for what God purposed dating in the first place. Cody put it something like this: “are we in a relationship to satisfy our selves or are we in a relationship to help our significant other be right with God?”

Keeping God first in our relationship is a lot easier said than done. I’m not going to say we have never lost focus of what is most important because that would be a lie, but I will say I have found seeking God to be easier with Cody. Prayer is very important in our life. I heard this saying, “Couples that pray together, stay together.” so I’ve somewhat implanted this in our relationship. We respect that there are things we both go through that the other person may never understand but we also do our best to help that person overcome in the Lord.

Cody has taught me how to let things go and not stress over every detail because he will not listen if I demand he put the big bowl in the cabinet a certain way (hahahah, that’s a really funny story;) I’ve also learned what it means to not be in control of every situation (and everyone) and how to let God guide me.

We have a long distance relationship (he lives 235 miles away) so we have had to learn what that means for us. It’s by far one of the hardest things but it is possible; it’s all about how much you want to work for it. I will admit there were times when I thought the distance was just “too much” but with every bit of doubt, God gave me more reasons why Cody was worth it.

I have learned so many things in the past year that it would take someone all day just to read everything in detail, haha! But most importantly, I learned how to put myself last, and let God be first in my life. If He is first, all things fall according to Him. I know there are still things Cody and I have to work on, but I also know learning to love Jesus more each day has allowed us to love each other more each day.

I am aware that I am only 16 and don’t have the experiences that my parents or grandparents have but I do have their example and I do have what God says. I have done a lot of research in the bible and have seen a lot of different perspectives (both with Cody and individually). I’m not here to say Cody and I are perfect and that everyone should do things the way we do because I believe every relationship is unique. Find what works with you in your relationship when pursuing God.

With Love,

Suzie Lynne

PS. if you have any questions, are struggling with your own relationship, wondering if you’ll ever find someone, etc. let me know!! I would love to help you and pray with/for you.

 

 

Binge Eating

Just one more piece. Just one more bowl. Just one more handful. It’s not like it will hurt me…

These are the thoughts of thirteen year old me not knowing everything that would spiral in the next four years.

Let’s start with the clinical definition of binge eating: “recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food (often quickly) to the point of discomfort, and the experience of shame, distress, and/or guilt afterwards.” Binging is also a symptom of bulimia (overindulging followed by methods to avoid weight gain; ie vomiting) but not to be confused because I have never purged on purpose.

Middle school was hard for everyone; one thing that made it hard for me is that my butt was, for lack of a better term, large (especially for a 13 year old) and for some reason everyone in my school thought it was okay to talk about it and say they were going to do things to me because of it. How much does a seventh grader really want to hear that people want to “smack them fat a** cheeks,” or know that the entire football team talks about their butt and how “delicious” it looked? By the summer before eighth grade, I began to hate myself and my body.

{note} At this point in my life I hadn’t really known the Lord. Yes, I grew up in the church and went almost every Sunday, but I didn’t understand what it meant to allow Christ into my life and in my heart to create a relationship with Him.

Although I hated my body, I didn’t look at myself and think I needed to be skinnier; I would look in the mirror and all I saw was my butt. I couldn’t get away from it. I felt trapped because I was labeled as the “the girl with a big butt.” This label kept following me everywhere I went. I thought everyone was talking about it and that everyone was staring as I would walk down the halls. Then that summer, before eighth grade, I was home alone in the house, staring at myself in the mirror thinking of all the things people said to me. The next thing I remember is crying and breaking down. I thought I was all alone and no one could help me. I only saw food, so I grabbed myself a bowl of ice cream and continued to cry. . I ate almost a gallon of ice cream, tons of crackers, half a bag of potato chips, and whatever else I could find. This was my first binge eating episode.

I was never really taught positive coping skills and if I was, then I wasn’t listening. I would secretly eat and eat and eat until my body was passed the point of feeling like throwing up. Sometimes, in the night, I would vomit, but it was never on purpose. I have thought of making myself purge after an episode, but I could never bring myself to do it. I always felt so much guilt and shame. I couldn’t tell anyone because I thought they would hate me and look at me different. By ninth grade, it wasn’t so much about how big my butt was anymore; it was about how much I hated the obsessive amount of food I was binging.

I started losing weight in ninth grade and becoming slimmer from all the dancing and working out I was doing. No one knew I was binge eating and it seemed like I was able to justify it better because I was still losing weight and gaining muscle. I was also so stressed with school (darn geometry!!) that I’d eat to make myself feel better. Although I was having more episodes, I also started learning more and becoming more interested in God. I started creating a relationship but I was scared to let Him into my life because I was so ashamed of my binge eating. The devil used weight loss, stress, and shame against me. Satan told me “you’re losing more weight which means you can have more binging episodes to cope with how ashamed you are of binging.” Okay seriously!? How crazy does that sound!? But to me, and many others, we believe those lies and it becomes our backbone to binge eating more.

In March of 2017, I realized how bad it was. I was eating everything I could. I constantly asked my friends for extra food at school, made my mom pack extra snacks for “dance” but they were gone before I even stepped in the studio. I was eating two, sometimes three, dinners a night with desert and I had a binging episode almost every day. I cried out to God because I couldn’t stand hiding in the shadow of my binging any longer. On April 8, 2017 I had submitted myself to the Lord and became baptized into the blood of Christ. God had truly become my refuge, my rock, and my redeemer. I was still having episodes, but not as many, when it was a time of extreme stress. In July, God placed an amazing person in my life who really helped me come up with better techniques and healthier eating habits. However, in the month of May this year, I started binging again.

I was quite stressed the last two months with finals, friends coming, planning, the worsening of my knees, and the one person who knew how to help me control my binging, was suddenly gone at camp. I didn’t want to show God because I let it get so bad again, so I just kept eating. The feelings of guilt, the brokenness, the shame, it came flooding back to me and I realized, for the second time, that if I put my hope in God rather then in myself or even my friends, this weight on my shoulders could be lifted.

If you’re struggling, it’s okay to tell someone. I thought I couldn’t tell anyone because they would look at me different but the one person I have told wasn’t mad at me, he wanted to help. If a person really cares, they’re going to do everything they can with God to help you be better.

I thought I couldn’t tell God (twice) because He wouldn’t accept me and He would be disappointed in me. I was ashamed of what I had done and who I had become, but I soon learned we cannot hide from God no matter how much we try. God knows none of us are perfect and all of us are going through something; that’s why His mercy and grace steps in. He gave His life to give us our own because He loves us and wants us to overcome. So when I went to God, He looked into my eyes and He told me He would not leave. Through all my binging, through all my shame, through all my tears, God is holding me and telling me I can change, I don’t have to keep turning to food but I can turn to Him and turn to the people He has placed in my life.

You are not alone. You do not have to hide in your dark room and cry. You do have to stare yourself down in the mirror and look at yourself as “the girl with a big butt” or whatever else you’ve been labeled as. You do not have to binge eat to cope with life. You can be honest. You can bring your brokenness to God because His love heals. You can overcome this addiction. You can be set free. You can do all things in Christ Jesus.

As much as I hate to admit it, I’m still having episodes today, but I’ve already started trying to use techniques and work on a food plan. I even limited myself to only one taco on Taco Tuesday rather than three (which doesn’t seem like that much but I also had ice cream, pop tarts, and pizza in a binging episode that same day). That was extremely hard. I know things aren’t going to all of a sudden stop and I may even have a few binging episodes in the future, but learning how to better handle bad news, stress, etc. is a goal of mine. I tell you part of my story today because I want to turn people’s attention to their own situations. Maybe you’re not struggling with binge eating but you understand those feelings of guilt and shame. Talk to someone and most importantly talk to God. I want to help you in any way that I can. We can do this together with God’s help. It’s not going to be easy, but we can do it.

With Love,

Suzie Lynne

PS. Know that I have forgiven every single person who has said awful things to me or about me, even behind my back, whether they have directly come up to apologize or still have no idea. I don’t blame them and I wish them the absolute best. All my intentions are to tell you part of my story and make more awareness to the situation in other girls and boys.

Mis Hermanas Españolas

Since last Friday, I got to spend the week with my beautiful Spanish sisters, Emma and Ingrid! Now Emma is actually from Kansas but speaks Spanish as her second language. As for Ingrid, she is from Pamplona, Spain (how cool!!) and is staying with Emma over the summer! I was so happy and blessed to have the opportunity to see these friends of mine and help give Ingrid an American experience!

I’ve posted a few photos of what we’ve been doing and the things Ingrid has been trying, but their is definitely way more than that haha! Here I’ll share with you our time together in more depth.

DAY 1:

A day spent shopping with Alexis, meeting Ingrid for the first time, finding about 12 subways but not the one our friend was working at, and of course, getting lost trying to find the park because I can’t give directions to save my life!

me, ingrid, emma, and alexis

Orange Leaf Frozen Custard ||springfield, mo||

a beautiful place with even more beautiful friends!! Loved getting to walk around and take sweet pictures:)

Nathanael Greene Park ||springfield, mo||

DAY 2:

Shopping at TJ Maxx, Hobby Lobby (Ingrid’s favorite store), Goodwill, and Stage! We took Ingrid to mass and got to see how different the Catholic Church is compared to the Church of Christ. Then bowling and Mexican with a long time church camp friend, and a mini photo shoot with the sunset!!

BOWLING!!! Ingrid LOVES it! Emma won but Ingrid and I tied for the most gutter balls, haha!

emma, ingrid, me, shelby

El Charros ||mh, ar||

our God is one of high quality!!! So much joy!!! ||mh, ar||

DAY 3:

Ingrid had cinnamon rolls for the first time!! We spent the morning at church where Ingrid got to experience her first non-catholic service. Her favorite part was four-part singing because it was another first! After church we spent the day at my grandparents house where we ate good food, walked around, played with puppies, saw the horses, and played cards. We visited Hodgson Mill and watched the office (her favorite character is Dwigt)

They were absolutely delicious!!!

Okay but seriously how cute!?!? ||dora, mo||

“I think he will do anything for treats!” ||dora, mo||

“Is that a tornado!?” ||dora, mo||

Her first time shooting a real gun and she hit the can on the first try! ||dora, mo||

Be looking out for our mixtape.. here’s a sneak peak at the album cover ||hodgeson mill||

yum yum cookies!!!!! ||mh, ar||

DAY 4:

The Lake!!!!!!! We spent the whole day at my uncles boat dock! By the end we were so tired and sunburnt we took a 3 hour nap.. Emma and Ingrid proceeded to play Egyptian Rap Slap with my family but I went to sleep early so didn’t get any pictures.

Ingrid’s first time snorkeling! “It was really cool!” ||norfork lake||

First time tubing!!! We flipped approximately 5000 times and loved every minute of it;)

First Dippin Dots!! Honestly how has she not had these before!? ||cranfield marina||

Haha these are both my shirts ||cranfield marina||

A few photos I took trying to be all professional and stuff haha ||norfork lake||

DAY 5:

We enjoyed chocolate pancakes for breakfast, which was another first for Ingrid! Then stopped at Starbucks for our free ice water (only reason I go let’s be honest) and went down to Blanchard Springs Caverns to show Emma and Ingrid the caves! It was so cool even though we struggled pushing me in a wheel chair and had to make a few stops. Then we ate at this cute restaurant, JoJo’s and took photos by the river. Our last night together ended with Ingrid’s first grilled meal and first homemade ice cream.

Emma’s much needed Starbucks run ||mh,ar||

Obviously Emma didn’t get the overall memo… Blanchard Springs Caverns ||fifty six, ar||

“Is that a river?” ||mountain view, ar||

These girls are so stunning!!!!!!! ||mh, ar||

DAY 6:

our last day together:(

it was spent packing, cleaning, eating donuts, and laughing our butts off!! I’m so sad to see my sweet friends/sisters go but I’m also so excited to see what other firsts and what other journey’s the girls will go on.

To Emma, I hope to see you keep growing in your love for the Lord and I can’t wait to see how God uses your accomplishments. You’ve got so many amazing things going for you and even through every trial God has allowed in your path I know you can overcome it with His strength. Thank you for letting Ingrid come to Arkansas and I’m so glad our friendship has blossomed even more throughout this trip.

To Ingrid, you’re one of the cutest, sweetest, most kind hearted people I have ever met. I’m so blown away by the love you have in your heart (and your Spanish;) and they things you’re going to do. I hope our paths will cross again soon and maybe a trip to Spain to see you:))) ill miss you my twin (we share a birthday!!) and I’m so humbled to have shared this experience with you.

||06/22-26/18 mh, ar||

Te Amo❤️