Mere Fragments #2 // New Beginnings

Hello. I am alive. I have not died. Despite my lack of writing, I am here now. I took an unintentionally long time away. There’s a comforting feeling coming back here, to this blog that has been around for awhile. At the same time, it has been so long that I feel like I don’t even know how to write a blog post. What is blogging? Where do I even begin?

It has been about eleven months since I left Taiwan. In that eleven months, a lot has happened. I currently live in North Carolina. I found a job as a barista at a local coffee shop. I really love it and the community that I’ve found there. My coworkers are the best. Wouldn’t survive those crazy work days without them. The locals who come in regularly are pretty cool as well. Between my coworkers and the regulars that come in, I have made some great friends.

I’m also getting close to being finished with my bachelor’s degree! In December I transferred my credits to Thomas Edison State University. I have one last course to take and then I’ll be graduating with a BA in History! It is crazy that I’ll be done with school in a few months. In many ways, my life has revolved around schoolwork for so long that it is hard to imagine what life will be like without it.

With school finishing up, my thoughts have turned towards the future. I’m in a weird stage of life. I have some friends who are college students, some that have graduated. I know people who are single, those who are married, and those who are having kids. As for me, I have no idea what the future holds. I have thought a lot about just getting through college, but not really past that. For sure, I definitely have ideas, but nothing is thought out.

In all of this, there’s plenty to be excited about and so much to be thankful for. In June, I got to be a part of one of my best friend’s wedding as her maid of honor. To be a part of my friend’s special day was absolutely thrilling. I couldn’t be more excited or happy for her. I love her so much. The wedding came together beautifully, despite the hiccups and craziness beforehand.

Weddings make me think of new life, fresh starts. It’s a time of new beginnings. It is a step into a new stage of life. Maybe, just maybe, this will be a new beginning for me. Every day, every moment is an opportunity to change. To do something different. To try something new. To start again.

The same applies to God. God has, is, and will always be here for us. He doesn’t abandon us even if we abandon him. That’s one of the most amazing things about him. God doesn’t leave us. He is there for us every single day. All we have to do is turn towards him. We don’t have to do anything. We don’t have to be anyone. God is here, wanting to hear from us. He’s ready to listen. Nothing is too big for him to handle. Maybe believing all this is hard. But here’s the thing, that’s when God steps in again. He helps us with our faith and trust in him. We can have new beginnings with God and he will help us every step of the way.

So here I am, hoping and trying to believe this for myself.

Hoping to lighten your burden,

Gabi

I’m a Sinner Too

these past few months have passed by so quickly. my time in taiwan is almost at an end. isn’t that crazy? i’ve been here for almost a year. in one way, it does feel like a year and even longer than that. in another way, it feels like i just got here.

if i’ve ever been absolutely certain of the fact that i’m changing, it would be now. i’ve been learning and growing a lot. more than i ever thought possible. what’s even more surprising to me is that i find that i have a desire to keep learning and growing.

i don’t want to stop going down this path. i want to keep walking/running down this road. i want to keep changing. i want to keep growing in my relationship with Christ. i want to know and understand more of who God is. at least, that’s how i’m thinking right now. but to be honest, i don’t always think this way.

sometimes i just want to give it all up. it’s too hard and overwhelming. i’m tired. all i see is my faults, my sins. i see how unworthy i am of God’s love. i don’t deserve a single ounce of it. i am a sinful human being. i’ve committed so many wrongs. over and over again i sin. sometimes, i just feel like a constant failure. i don’t think that i’ll ever be any better than i am right now.

let’s be honest here. life is not just what you see in those encouraging blog posts. it’s not the short, but uplifting, tweets you see on twitter. it’s not all those aesthetic pleasing photos with the perfect inspirational caption on instagram.

no. real life, sure, it can be like that sometimes. but all the time? no. real life is hard. there’s pain. there’s suffering. there are problems, issues. usually, i don’t see the reason why things are the way that they are. i don’t understand why i have to go through ______ or ______. to me, it seems pointless.

what can i do? i’m incapable of getting myself out of this rut. i’m stuck. does any of this really matter? does anything i do really make a difference? and this is what happens. sometimes, i can just see growth growth growth. other times, i’m all i can see is my ever-growing pile of wrongdoings. i go back and forth, from one extreme to another.

but that’s not how it should be. yes, i am a sinner. yes, i can not get out of this situation on my own. but this is where Jesus comes in. he paid the price for our sin. he took the consequence of our sin. that separation from God? that broken relationship we have with God? Jesus fixes that. he died to fix it. now, we have direct access to God.

we are broken, but he is whole. we are unable, but he is able. what’s even more important, he is willing. God is able and willing to save us. he wants a relationship with us. he loves us. though we fall over and over again, God continues to save us over and over again. he wants to deliver us, because he cares about us.

and that’s true grace. it is this that i can be encouraged by. i can find comfort in God because despite what i do, God wants to have a relationship with me. he will continue to pursue me no matter how often i fail.

isn’t that amazing? i can’t begin to comprehend why God would do this. i can’t understand why he would suffer so much for us. why does he love us? why does he even care about us?

but he does. he really does.

when i look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”

-psalm 8:3-4

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

So This is the New Normal

time just flies by and now it is april. time is like sand. i try to hold on it, but it keeps slipping between my fingers.

things have changed a lot in the last few months. i know. it’s on everyone’s minds lately. the virus. the coronavirus. or COVID-19. whatever name you put to it, you can’t go a day without hearing about it (much less a few hours).

an unknown virus has changed life as we know it. everyone has been effected, whether in big or small ways. we can hope that things will go back to “normal” soon, but for now this is the new normal.

unfortunately, so many people are struggling in this time. we have people working in the medical field or working for the government or working in the food industry. there are more, like all the first responders out there. i could go on.

these people are essentially risking their lives day in and day out, some more than others. either way, there is always a possibility, always a chance that they could come into contact with the virus. they still work though, because they are needed and necessary.

then there are all the people without jobs. people who are trying to figure out how long they can survive like this. how will they take care of their families? their relatives? themselves? no one knows when things will get better. everything is up in the air.

but while many struggles are visible, there are some struggles that go unseen. those who have mental health problems. for many people, they now have to practice social distancing. they have to stay at home. if they go out, it’s only for necessities or the occasional walk…by themselves. for those who struggle mentally, i can’t even begin to understand what they are going through.

(thankfully, here in taiwan we have yet to practice social distancing. we are just trying not to travel a lot or associate with too many different people. and we’re always wearing masks and washing our hands.)

and lets not forget all the plans that were cancelled. weddings, graduations, birthday parties, and more. some of these were monumental events that people only experience once, but the virus changed that.

people are stressed. worried. anxious. the list goes on. and what is God’s purpose in all of this? i’ve been asking myself that a lot lately. and honestly, i’m not sure that i’ll ever know, not until i see God. that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t use this time for good.

there’s a lot of fear in the world right now. people are scared. while they have no hope, we, as Christians, do. we have hope. we may be scared, but we can act despite the fear. we know there is someone who is greater than this virus and he is in control. even if we can’t see him, he is with us. we may not know his plan, but we know that he is good.

“i pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

-romans 15:13

in this dark time, let’s be that light to others. send a text to that friend that you haven’t heard from in awhile. call up that person you’ve been meaning to talk to. it can be something as simple as that. you don’t know fully what people are struggling with. you never know when something as simple as a message saying “i care. i see you.” may make all the difference in his/her life.

Christ poured out his love for us. we can definitely take the time to show that love to others. small acts of kindness really do make all the difference.

and i hope that when things do go back to “normal,” that we, as a people, won’t. we will be changed. i hope that we learn something from this time. that we appreciate the small things. that we don’t take for granted the time we have with our families and friends.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

what have you been doing during this hectic time? what have you learned or taken away from this time?

It’s Been Awhile

i didn’t mean for three months to go by without a single post, but look where we are. we’re nearing the end of february and i haven’t posted since the beginning of november.

november and december were two hard months for me, if i’m being honest. i was working on a eight week college course. it shouldn’t have been that hard, but i procrastinated every single thing in that course. it didn’t matter whether the assignments were big or small, i would wait until the last moment to do them and turn them in.

it was my own actions that brought on so much stress in my life. i hated myself then. i hated what i was doing, but i didn’t change. no matter how much i told myself to stop procrastinating, i kept procrastinating. and that made me feel depressed. it didn’t help that this was the first time that i wasn’t spending thanksgiving or christmas with my family.

it was hard. on christmas day, i went to bed crying. i wasn’t sleeping enough. i wasn’t drinking enough. and i just in general wasn’t taking good care of myself. i couldn’t seem to get out of this loop of stress and depression.

then, the day after christmas, my friend celebrated christmas with me. we went to dinner and she showed me all these videos that her and my mom had worked to get from family and friends wishing me merry christmas and telling me that they were thinking of me. i cried.

it made me realize that God has a plan in the mess. things began to look up after that. there’s still stress at times. there’s many choices and big decisions that i have to make soon. but i’m trying to put God first in all of it. that’s something that i haven’t been doing much at all. sometimes the easiest/simplest things to do are the hardest things to do, you know?

i have a lot of things that i need to work on in my life. one of those things is prayer. prayer is something that i’ve really neglected lately. but i want to do better. it’s a new year. a new day. i want to change. i want to grow. i want to improve. and i want God to be at the center of everything i do.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

Hello

whether you’ve come from either two of my previous blogs (here or here) or you’re entirely new and have never seen me before, hi!

welcome to my mess.

seriously, i’m quite the mess.

but aren’t we all in some way or form?

no one is perfect.

even still, we are significant.

we have the ability to change lives and make a difference.

so even in my mess i aspire to create change, the kind of change that has an impact in others.

i hope that this blog will be a place where you can find hope, encouragement, and inspiration. or, at least, you’ll get a laugh out of it.

because it is here that i hope to share my thoughts, travels, and all the mistakes i make and the lessons i learn in between.

i hope that you’ll join me as i grow and change. life is hard, i know. but i hope that my words will bring you comfort, even if it’s only a bit.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi