STUFF I LEARNED THIS YEAR:
I. Life is hard. There will be times in which the goings are a little easier, and times when it's going to be rough. The thing is, no matter how much darkness you are surrounded by, no matter how cold your "winter" is...the spring always comes and the light will eventually penetrate every last shadow. Have hope! God will never give more than you can handle and in some sort of crazy beautiful way...this season has purpose.
II. Speaking of hope: Hope is a game changer. A life changer. It isn't merely a word they write in glitter on little girls' t-shirts and random stuff they sell at Christian bookstores. Hope is knowing that God will provide. Hope is knowing that in the midst of every difficulty God loves you and will care for you. Hope isn't just a happy feeling...it's a choice. If you struggle with hope (I do!) ask Mary for it. I start every morning with three Hail Mary's...one for hope, one for faith, one for charity. She is the Mediatrix of all graces and will hear our prayers!
III. God lets our hearts break for a reason. Whether it was some boy-related-conundrum, family dramatics, career tragedies, school rejections or whatever....no matter WHY your heart has been torn asunder...it is for some greater good. Ask God what He wants from you in your brokenness--He will show you! And it's going to blow your mind. No matter how worthless and unlovable you feel, God can work awesome stuff through you. Just let Him.
IV. The other thing about broken hearts, is that they will heal. Lift up your heart! Let God mold the broken bits back together and make them into something beautiful. Let him turn your rubles back into beauty. Keep your head up. Go to confession. Get Jesus. Pray. Hope. Don't worry. You're going to be okay.
V. NOVENAS KICK BUTT. Sometimes it takes awhile for an answer (cough cough...like two years....), and sometimes the results don't come as you expected...but God will provide. www.praymorenovenas.com is totally rad, but I personally love the 54-day-novena. It blows my mind EVERY FREAKING TIME. Currently, I'm in the midst of praying for an increase of purity (um...awkward.).... I thought about asking for more humility but I'm kind of afraid to ask for that...so... purity seemed like more fun. If you have problems you should be praying novenas....and if you have lots of problems you should be praying 54 day novenas. Trust me... I have lots of problems and would know these things.
VI. God will always send the right people into our lives at exactly the right time. I've seen it time and time again and learned that He speaks to us in subtle ways...often through the words and kindness of others. We just gotta learn to listen. Family, blogging/instagram friends, IRL friends (I actually have those, yo.), co workers, random strangers, homies from the Heavenly realm (JP2....) , kindly acquaintances....they all matter. There is no limit as to who God will work through in order to get a message into our heads! And, he will most certainly never, ever leave us alone.
VII. It is much easier to hid within ourselves when the goings get rough than to be charitable. While it is very good to acknowledge the difficulties at hand & to go to the quiet and sort it all out with God, we must remember that we are needed outside our little bubbles and we can't hide. Someone out there is in desperate need of us & our prayers...and if we are so caught up wallowing in self-pity and despair we're not doing what we ought. Life is hard. But we have work to do. See: I, II, III, IV, V, and VI. (In regards to the last, remember that there is a point in which you have to BE that person for someone else...)
VIII. Just because you love something & it's been your dream job the grand 'ol age of 13, doesn't mean things won't change. Letting go of one passion and letting a new one in is okay...even if it's scary. JP2 did this! From a young age he adored the theatre, but in his later years he discovered a calling to the preisthood. Instead of pursuing a career in the performing arts, he set off to do God's will--not because the theatre was bad, but because he was needed elsewhere. Then of course, God put John Paul's love of performance and related arts to use in writing and speeches as a priest, bishop & pope. This gives me hope that eventually God will use all the random bits of me--passions, hobbies, dislikes, etc-- for something really awesome. And, that somehow, in some way, He'll show me a future that will be even MORE rad than the one I'd planned out for myself. Ya know...when I was 13. (Ok...chance are pretty good that whatever He has in mind will be better than what I came up with then. ;) )
IX. Get more sacraments. Read more books. Hang out with people holier than thou.. Pray more rosaries. Decorate your bedroom wall with your heavenly boyfriend and get a t-shirt with his face on it. Strive for sainthood. Remember that Heaven is your home.
X. I also learned how to change tires, jump a car, check/fill oil & coolant, that crappy jobs are fantastic opportunities for growing in virtue (I really have no excuse for not being a saint already... I mean really.), how to make mac & cheese from scratch, that I have worth, that staying up late is awesome...but a bad idea, and that letting God do whatever he wants with your life is a daring adventure. One I totally recommend. Be not afraid.