Boundless Beauty. (300 words)

I hate to be the bearer of bad news in my own expectations or the facilitator of less than my absolute best when I am actively pursuing my dreams. I want to grow tired of the lies I sell myself and follow my heart as it leads me to truth. But it takes so much more than hopes and good thoughts to inspire lasting and effectual change.

Sometimes, you have to break down completely before you will ever follow through.

I am not infallible. Every day I wake up just like you with a choice to do better or to stay statically still. I could go on and on about the times I wasted or the balls I let drop while the world around me refused to stop–but none of that will matter unless I choose to make a difference now, for me.

When you are not emotionally connected to your actions, you will continue to fail without any regard to who you are taking down with you. You will emote and feel things deeply but forget that it is not all about your problems. It is about finding a path in the middle towards achieving and maintaining peace. Peace that can not exist if we are constantly fighting.

I do not want to hear “suck it up” when the truth in love inspires us to speak words of healing over people who are truly suffering. There are a thousand ways we can say the same thing without wounding sensitive spirits with our harsh expressions.

Some days this is harder for us to do–but the most beautiful things have a way of happening in spite of you.

beauty, life, expectations, hope, love, blog


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– Jen Cosby

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You are Missing from Me.

As I draw further away from the negative reality of my past year–and come closer to the anniversary of our ending–I am hard pressed to examine and emote and release this anxiety that has already served its purpose for me. I suppose I just gave up when faced with the truth of my deception. I did not fight because I had nothing left to lose. Thought I was strong enough and wise enough to push past the initial defeats, but I will never forget you are missing from me.

I still try at times to make peace in my subconscious. My dreams are filled with road blocks and alternate routes that always lead back to you. Except, I spend most of my time jolted awake by the fact that I cannot change what God has told me is not now possible.

The hope is to give up the hurt you experience, and to focus your efforts on healing.

bloom, growth, healing, flowers, relationships, friendships, loss

Bloom with Intention

We all plant seeds that will one day take root and bear fruit. Whether it is good or bad fruit is determined by what we choose to leave. –Jen Cosby

Usually this would not matter to me. What mattered then is how my hurt manifested itself as a quietly ticking time bomb that without warning exploded on everyone I loved. Shrapnel broke down decades old foundations and opened up carefully concealed scars. This makes me human but also magnifies just how weak I really was. And just how weak I continue to be, when I try to forget you are missing from me.

Today, I walk through doors that I did not have to blow up in order to walk through. They open because they are mine and I did not have to convince myself that I was worthy. They open because I accepted my undeniable part in the mess I experienced and gave up praying God would bless the dysfunction.

I realize my pursuit of wellness may not mean restoration. My desire to be better may never be seen. But I promised myself that I would be honest when I am hurting. And the truth of the matter is you are missing from me.

 


P.S. As life continues to evolve I am realizing that I am posting less frequently on this site. My goal is to only provide “good” thought provoking content at all times. With my current schedule in mind, I will begin to follow a bi-monthly posting schedule.

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I look forward to connecting with you guys on these platforms!

-Jen Cosby

Strength Under Pressure.

I keep my worries bound in a carefully tied knot, held in place to my everyday obligations. I want to be free of concern–to get a break from doubting that I will eventually get what I need. Because honestly, I recognize that plenty of people go without. There are an innumerable amount of people who have nothing. People who regardless, always find a way to be happy. People who stand up and decide to keep moving.

It is believed that the more you obtain, the less satisfied you will become. I remember the months and years when I had little of the material but still felt I had everything. I remember being jobless and nearly homeless with a 1.5 year old. How I lived in a 3 BR apartment with 4 other adults and slept in a shared bedroom on a twin sized bed with my daughter. I remember when my first brand new car was repossessed in the middle of the night with my daughter’s car seat & stroller in the trunk. I remember walking miles back and forth to the library to spend 30 minutes applying for jobs because I did not have access to a computer at home. Running 3 blocks to the bus stop with a toddler on my hip and 2 bags on my shoulder.

It was here I could have decided to give up and accept that life was going to keep throwing punches that I was never going to be able to dodge. I could have sat down in the mess I created and allowed failure to reign in my thoughts. I could have ignored the silent roar for better in my heart. But I continued to fight in spite of everything I thought I had lost.

I feel a familiar twinge of panic now because struggle has a history of infinitely repeating. We will not be free of trouble in this world and it is one of the few things that we are absolutely guaranteed. Now, instead of complaining that “life is not fair” or blaming others for my circumstances–I try to take full responsibility for the gains and the losses. I cannot blame other people for my failures or ignore the consequences when I make mistakes. I can however, opt to face my sorrows and behave with the utmost of integrity.

Right now, it feels like I am being pulled in opposing directions. I feel like everything I fought so hard for is in constant jeopardy. Truthfully, sometimes we have deal with the consequences of our past decisions for decades. Even if I learned my lesson the first time, I still have to make peace with the fact that I deviated from God’s perfect plan for my life.

The beautiful thing about messing up is that it does not mean that we are:
unfixable or
unloveable or
unable to fix our stuff.

It just means we have to fight harder, get stronger and remember to get back up.

 

Even the Righteous Need Breaks.

I wonder what happens to beautiful souls who lose their courage to the bitter realities of life. A part of me knows decisions are made that subtract from happiness and cause undesirable consequences–but another part of me cannot begin to analyze the cost. Instead, I look out of my window at clouds that promise oncoming cold and heavy, relentless rain. Because even nature releases its burden before it starts all over again.

The cycle of life reminds us of how precious time is while we attempt to live out our plans and work towards individual designs. We are planners and organizers. Dreamers who spend hours thinking of ways to get the very best of everything. Yet sometimes, we intentionally procrastinate against the necessary hard work required of us. Turning our backs on the truth of who we are.

jencosby_blog_inspiration_lessonsThere are times of testing that give way to amazing moments that we could have never achieved without grace. In these difficult moments we forget what is important and get defensive when our ideal is lost. When I personally measured my commitment to others I found I could have done more when my friends were hurting. Instead, I chose to bury my head in the sand and act as if nothing was happening. I ignored those public posts and dismissed their agonizing cries for attention–assuming that a person who needed help would just come out and ask for it. But it is difficult to anticipate help when you are ashamed of your actions.

For the better part of a year I ran from every single one of my callings. I dug in deep with isolation and spent quality time in my own self-imposed rejection. At the time, I felt wounded by so many things that I became accustomed to and accepting of pain. It became a daily habit for me to wake up and go through the day like a zombie–oblivious to the hurt I was feeling. Eventually, that hurt became a part of the way I communicated. I lashed out and broke confidence with people who wanted more for and from me. Now, I realize I could do nothing for them unless I wanted more for myself.IMG_2204

Now that I want more I need to take consistent steps in the right direction. It means I cannot run from difficult conversations or fill silence with resentment and apathy. My calling requires me to be active in the pursuit of my emotional, physical and mental health. When I am wrong, I must admit it and walk down the path towards reconciliation and forgiveness. Likewise, if someone hurts me (accidentally or not) it is up to me to be honest about my feelings.

What they choose to do with my truth is NOT my responsibility.

 

Open Invitation.

I get so sick of brokenness and the repercussions of mistakes that separate me from the one who first loved me. At first, it feels like I am in charge of this rebellion–like I intentionally chose to run against His grace. I realize I am not that powerful, but the results are still the same. When I am outside of God’s will it is only a matter of time before I run smack into a wall of dead ends.

But if He works all things for my good, then even detours will lead me back to where I am meant to be. I find this encouraging in the midst of missing people who are no longer a part of my life. I stand confident in the fact that there is a greater purpose in spite of my mistakes.

It is so easy to sit in your faults and to believe that you do not deserve happiness. I tend to isolate myself in a bubble away from people who want to help. The greatest tragedy is trying to ignore the voice of God, himself. But when I am quiet, when the world slows down around me–He reaches through my crowded thoughts and pulls at my heart strings.

He asked, Why won’t you talk to me?”

Immediately my eyes began to water and my vision grew blurry as I answered, “I don’t know.” I used to turn off the music during my morning commutes and just talk to God. I would pour out my thoughts and feelings and ask for His divine guidance. I would pray for my friends and family. Yesterday, He used a traffic jam to get my attention–and not just one accident, but two. He decided that enough was enough.

Enough running and hiding and casually living for Him. Enough with carrying shame and holding onto the past I cannot change. He gave me an open invitation to come. He asked me to drop all those heavy memories and regrets. He chose me. He wanted me.

And He will set me exactly where I am supposed to be.

God, faith, quotes, bible, life

The Coincidence of Obedience.

Words will always pour out of a writer’s heart as long as the right door is opened.

I went back to my home church in the month of April.  After many excuses and in spite of my infamous stubbornness, there were multiple occurrences that led me to believe that now was the right time. For one, I ran into a church member and friend at the city-wide Spelling Bee in which our children were participating. The day of the 1st test, I was stuck in what seemed like an unnatural amount of traffic and I thought to myself, “There’s a reason this is happening right now.” We finally make it to the library where the Spelling Bee is held and right after we check in a little girl runs up screaming my daughter’s name. I turn around to see four faces I have not seen in over a year.

spellingbee_friends_life.jpg

It is important to note: I do not believe in coincidence. Every moment in life we have the opportunity to make decisions, but each cross road we ultimately come to is intentional. At times, I did not like where I was headed and made the choice to correct my course. Sometimes, I would choose to keep going on a path I hated, towards a sad and lonely ending. Still, in either direction there was a voice–one that rang louder or quieter depending on my choice. The 2nd occurrence happened on my way back home from visiting my family in Virginia. I could hear a thought in my mind saying, “It’s time to go back to your church.” Not only did I hear this thought, but I also knew and felt the exact time to go. It was also around this time that one of my pastors reached out and asked me directly when I would be coming to see my family.

The answer was very soon.

Regardless of how I left or the emptiness I once felt, it was time to return to the place I knew I belonged. Ironically, walking into those doors again felt familiar and comforting rather than intimidating or wrong. I was reminded of the kindness of these people whom I had known for a number of years. Now, I could see with clear eyes how I should have stayed and asked for help. Help, that I did not feel I deserved at the time. I also remembered the hurt that burned in my chest when I left and no one seemed to notice. I realize now just how hard it is to reach someone who does not want to be reached.

Especially since the person who needed to be reached, was me.

It is my hope that my future decisions will bring me closer to rather than pushing others away. Life is already difficult enough without me being the perpetrator in my own narrative. I choose to be brave and strong–to allow people to love me through my mess and to see me fully. I choose to speak my truth and walk forward knowing that I am doing my best. And the best, is yet to come. authentic_life_lessons_truth

You Cannot Rush Freedom (400 words)

Most of us exist for tiny moments of excitement–forever looking for the next thrill to write home about. I wish life was always this simple and we did not have to think about problems or troubles or figure out 5-year plans. But the truth is, an honest life is one of requirement. Everyday we must come to terms with the fact that our lives are not completely our own. We are responsible for other people–in the most benign to the most extreme of ways.

And nothing wakes one up faster than realizing that another person is counting on you.

I imagine taking this type of ownership to its highest peak. Because without sacrifice, we are incapable of offering anyone anything. Sometimes, the hardest part of my day is facing this blatant reminder in the form of an unrelenting alarm clock. It screams, “Wake Up!” when all I really want to do is sleep. The act of hitting snooze in this instance is probably one of the most selfish things.

When I was a child, I relied upon my parents to prepare me for every future event. From school and extracurricular activities to family special occasions; I was helpless without them. At times I found myself helpless as a result of them. Now that I am an adult, I remember the way I would rationalize their dysfunction on my life. I did not see drunkenness and disorder; it was unpredictable fun. My mother was not financially irresponsible and careless, she was spontaneous and carefree.

This is the lens I used to guard my innocence when what I really needed was protecting.

I dreamed of leaving my destructive nest and living a life of order and structure. I remember trying to fly on my own for the first time and it was then I learned that you cannot rush freedom. I thought maybe flapping my wings and kicking up dust would guarantee that no one could ever reach me. But the higher I flew, the more I lost sight of my calling and destiny. It took coming back down and sitting in the reality of all the hurt I experienced that finally gave me the courage to let it all go.

I could have chosen to cling to my past and perpetuate the cycle of pain, transferring the guilt I felt onto my offspring. I could have continued to run from my responsibilities. But I know I must live a life of intention.

And God intended for me to be free.