Seems Simple Enough

Since I was fifteen I have had this far off dream that I wanted to help others. Not in a simple way, but in a life altering sense. It has always been one of those dreams where you think it just simply isn’t possible because it is too hard. I asked myself, “how can one girl change someone’s world?”. Well, I have learned that it certainly isn’t impossible.

I recently volunteered at a conference that was held at my church, it was called Redefined. A dear friend of mine saw a change that needed to happen, she had the passion to do it, so she started small and went with it.

The goal in naming the event as “Redefined” was in hopes to redefine the way middle school and high school aged girls thought about relationships with friends, boys, and family. As well as discuss topics that girls are too afraid to talk about with their parents – like sex.

Seems simple enough.

She had a dream, and she went for it.

The reward was far greater than I could have ever imagined. As I walked around the room, listening to these girls discuss how the topic of God’s Grace changed their way of thinking in relation to their friendships, and how the topic of modesty really struck a chord in their hearts, reassured me that these girls are hungry for hope in this fallen world.

These things, and more, are attainable. Whether that be at big conferences, or conversations had at small frozen yogurt shops, if we are living with an intentional heart, and a courageous mind, then we can move mountains – big and small.

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Christianity is not easy. Following after Christ’s call on your life is scary. Being bold and courageous instead of allowing others to do the work of God, is intimidating.

But I was one of those girls. I was at those conferences. I was at those frozen yogurt shops. I was insecure. I was broken and damaged.

If it were not for the women who said no to fear, if it were not for the women who said no to their insecurities, I would not be pursuing the passions that God has laid on my heart. Because someone pushed away their fear of rejection and what others might think, my life is changed, my world is changed.

They started small. They texted me at least once a week to check in with my heart, because they knew that I was fourteen and I would go and forget everything that I just took away from that conversation and/or conference.

Small things as these, lead to a trajectory that can be life altering.

So now I am choosing to lay down my life, my desires, and my wants for His passions. I am passionate about the wellbeing of others. I am passionate about the heart and soul of those afflicted from this world. I am passionate about the broken. I am passionate about redefining their way of thinking after this world got ahold of their hearts and minds.

I am passionate about being active in my faith.

It is a scary thing to be vulnerable and transparent about something so close to your heart, but I refuse to do nothing about such a tremendous issue in today’s broken world.

One day at a time.

One prayer at a time.

One conversation at a time.

Seems simple enough…


T.

Lesson’s From A Twenty-Something Year Old.

My absence has not been absent from the forefront of my mind. My heart is here, writing away, sharing pieces of me with you.

As I have been away, there were many a things that grabbed a hold of me.

Although there were many, there was just one that left it’s lasting touch on my soul.

As you have seen from my previous writings, you know that I just want to be vulnerable and real, telling of the experiences that I have learned and been through in the short time I have been on God’s earth. My hope is that you would hear the desperate tone that is in my voice, and that you would read between the lines and see my heart out in the open.

My life in reality, behind the screen and keyboard, is the same as I portray it here to you.

I am vulnerable.

I am honest.

I am transparent.

Two hundred percent of the time.

I know I have discussed my hardships with this in prior writings.

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I firmly believe that this world is a hurting, and broken place. I firmly believe that there needs to be more love and grace in order for this world to keep on spinning. I once thought it was my job to provide that to the world, but thank the Lord above that I allowed that weight to be taken off of my shoulders.

It started when I was fifteen, but I was real. I did not deny the hardships that I went through already in life. I experienced it, I coped with it, I learned from it. I did not “push it under the rug”, but now I know why people do push things that life hands them under the rug.

To say that it is painful to have eyes that see and to have ears that hear, is an understatement, because you become one of the very few with those eyes and ears. You start to feel powerless because you can’t do much more then pray, and thats a hard thing to accept if you’re someone like me; someone who desires to give, help, serve.. being a doer.

I saw the brokenhearted at the age of fifteen. I wasn’t wrapped up in what was the latest trendy outfit to wear or the latest gossip between my girlfriends (although I was still human, so of course I was in love with Justin Bieber).

Ears to hear. Eyes to see. 

This costed me friendships and relationships that I never thought would end because of my whole hearted love toward someone.

But thats the thing, in my experience, people don’t want to be asked about the stuff that hurts. In my experience, people want to live the life that they have set up for themselves, a life that sustains them – but does not allow them to thrive.

So, here I am. Twenty-something years old still battling with the same confusion of why individuals get gravely offended and awkward when you start talking about the real effects of this world on a soul.

But I am learning. I am learning that there is a time and a place for openness. I am learning that this world is a fight-to-survive world when all I want to do is love other people until they see that it is possible to be whole again.

I suppose the balance, and my journey, will continue for some time.


T.

From Surviving To Thriving

It’s a history of survival. A long standing one at that.

The definition of surviving is to continue to live or exist, especially in spite of danger or hardship.

Through instability, I survived.

Through Chaos, I survived.

Through mental, emotional, and physical abuse, I survived.

Through poverty, I survived.

Through neglect, I survived.

Through abandonment, I survived.

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For so long, I was in survival mode, not because I wanted to, clearly, but because I had to. I had to survive so that I wouldn’t run away and be homeless as a twelve year old. I had to survive because someone had to believe in me, someone had to give me hope for a better day to come.

My dilemma is this: how does someone go from surviving to thriving? Better yet, how does someone go from surviving to just living. I feel as if I am a recovering alcoholic. I get urges to put walls up faster then you could ever imagine. I ache for closeness but push people away when they don’t meet my unspoken expectations.

I am now living a life that is worth living. I am stable. I am loved. I am whole. I am trying to invest in my future financially and physically by pursuing my career. Although, I don’t know how to balance the anxiety with the “healthy worried thought”. I am told to be in the moment, I am told that I simply over think everything.

I am trying. I am trying to figure out how to do this whole healthy-functioning lifestyle after years of trials and downfalls. I am built to survive. Now I need to figure out how to let go of my survival traits so that I can thrive. The thought alone gives me anxiety, but I know that I have a God who loves me and who goes before me. I just need to practice applying that to my life.

I hope that this finds you in good season. That you are choosing joy and laughter instead of worry and stress. Life is a journey, let us all take it one day at a time.


T.

I Can No Longer Stay Quiet – Guest Blogger

I write to make a difference. We all know that words can change the course of history, if they are used in the correct manner. I come to you today in hopes that you take away some hope from the situation that follows.

I have a guest who is going to share a story, a difficult story to tell.

This person is dear to my heart not only because of what she went through, but because of the type of soul that she has. Not often do we find souls that are purely genuine, that are purely sincere. Well, she is one of them folks. To those of you who have ears, hear this story, listen to this story, and be impacted in a way that changes your life in a positive way.

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Before you continue, imagine your life and think of your best friend, the person you would literally do anything for. Now picture that same person, shutting you out of their life.

I was sexually assaulted by my best friend’s husband.

She wrote me off like I was her 5th grade best friend and I stole her boyfriend during recess. She made it seem like this was my fault, not his. And though it may be my fault that I didn’t tell her sooner, it doesn’t change what he did. I was afraid of losing my best friend, my person. I’ve been in a constant battle with myself, “Maybe it really was my fault”, or.. “is it really considered sexually assault?”, or.. “I mean he didn’t rape me, so everything will be okay.”. Like I said, constant battle.

Everything is not okay. For the past 9 months I have been fighting myself, hoping that I will eventually “get over it,” but I’ve realized it is just not that simple. She blamed me, she told me I encouraged him and lead him on, but I was the one telling him no. Over and over again. I was fighting for her relationship.

I am going to give context and details on the situation to help you better understand where I am at mentally, and where I am at emotionally trying to cope with this situation.

I was staying at her house because we had been drinking. We were celebrating our 21st birthdays together. Our designated driver took his girlfriend home, so it was just her, me and her husband left. Unfortunately, she was a little too intoxicated to stay awake any longer, but I was a little too intoxicated to keep everything down. I tried to eat so I could sober up, but I couldn’t. I found myself in the bathroom throwing up in the toilet, soon to be accompanied by her husband.

He wanted to make sure I was okay. I was, don’t get me wrong! Just sick. I respected him. He was a very respectable guy, until his next few moves. He started rubbing my back, wanting to “make sure I was okay,” then he put his hand underneath my shirt, unclipping my bra. Getting up quickly, I went to the kitchen to get some water and he followed. I told him I was fine and that he needed to go to bed. He didn’t. He proceeded to my room after I had been alone for awhile and slid into bed with me. “You need to leave,” was my response. But, maybe I should have phrased that differently, “GET OUT!”, would have been more suitable. But I didn’t, and that’s the thing.

I can’t change anything from that night, and if I could I would. I can’t change what I said, I can’t go back and punch him in the face, because maybe then he would’ve gotten the message, right? After telling him to leave multiple times, it wasn’t until he stuck his fingers inside of me that he “realized” what he was doing. I don’t remember what I said, or what I did to make him leave, but he left my room and I haven’t seen him since.

For some reason I still feel like I have to validate why this is not my fault, so I looked up the definition of sexual assault. Sexual assault: a sexual act in which a person is coerced or physically forced to engage against their will, or a non-consensual sexual touching of a person.

This was non-consensual.

HE IS MARRIED.

He is married to my best friend.

The person I would literally do anything for. I thought she knew me well enough to realize that maybe there was more to the story, but she believed what she heard from him. Of course, he is love of her life. 

I have built up this anger towards myself for 9 months.

I am mad that it happened.

I am mad I allowed myself to consume that much alcohol.

I am mad I didn’t just walk out of one room, I had to leave multiple rooms to escape this man.

I’m mad that I continuously blame myself when I wanted no part of this.

I am mad that I can’t just LET IT GO.

But it’s impossible. She was my best friend. My person. The one I would want to run to about something like this happening to me, but she is the one who shut me out. I can’t let go of a pain that deep, but I can try my hardest to take something positive away from this situation. Which is what brings me here today. 

I want to share my story so that no one else feels like they have to just “deal with it”.

I don’t want to just sit here, feeling sorry for myself, as their life continues as a happily married couple.

I need to bring something away from this situation, something that can help others, something that can help me heal since I am doing it quietly by myself, until now.

I want to tell you that there are things that will make you feel like you aren’t good enough. There are things that will make you feel like you will never be good enough for anyone, like you aren’t loved, or that you aren’t worthy of love.

But I am here to tell you that it is your imagination.

You are loved.

You are enough.

You are worthy.

And the moment you realize that, that is the moment you set yourself free.

Haunted

I was, and oddly still am, comfortable with chaos.

I grew up in and around it. That’s all I ever knew. When I was a child and pre-teen, I hated it. The yelling, screaming, crying, and endless fighting.

I was that one friend who always wore hand me down clothes, who’s parents were divorced and the one who always tried to stay the night at a friend’s house so I wouldn’t have to go home. I remember feeling like such the odd one out. All my friends had parents who were still married, had cars that weren’t falling apart, and had clothes and shoes that didn’t have holes in them.

That’s all I wanted, or so I thought.

I’m twenty three, married, and almost done with college. If you knew where I came from, you would know that there is weight to that sentence. I was never set up for success. I was purely set up to fail, due to my environment.

So when I tell you that I dated a guy for three years who cheated on me and manipulated me the whole duration of our relationship, you might understand why I tolerated such a thing for so long. The manipulation, the fighting, and the crying. I thought that is how relationship’s work. That’s all I ever knew.

Individuals succumb to their environment, they adapt and change accordingly. So why do I feel as if I am being haunted by my past? Why have I not adapted emotionally to my new lifestyle?

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I believe that those who go through such an amount of trauma, whether that be emotionally, mentally, physically, or psychologically, they are impacted for life. I don’t think that it has the power to overcome an individual completely, but I do think it changes a person internally. Absolutely.

I know so many women and girls who dream of having the life I have. I have a considerable balance in my savings account, I live in a apartment that has more space then I need, I drive a new car, I have a job that not only pays my bills, but supports my coffee habits, and I have a husband who is the definition of unconditional.

There are girls out there who are still in the in-between phase. You know, the phase of life where you are overloaded in college courses, dating a guy that you don’t have the time to date but can’t seem to resist anyways. The phase where you only get four hours of sleep on an average night because you are balancing three jobs.

Yeah, that phase.

There are girls who are still there. I was one of them for a few years. I dreamed of marriage as I went on dates. I thought of my career as I wrote my twelve page papers. I paid the car payments with my income from my three jobs. I snoozed the alarm on my sleepless nights.

So tell me something..

Why am I finding myself daydreaming of the lifestyle that I just came out of? Why is it that when we get what we have always wanted, our desires shift.

I think that I crave the late nights, early mornings, sleep deprived days because I have always been in survival mode. I have always only known how to strive to survive. Sitting still and being content is not my thing. I suppose this is just a lesson that you learn in your twenties.

I am slowly learning to be in the here and now, to be in today and not in yesterday. I learned many good lessons in my past and now it is time to apply them in my future – which is now.


T.

Overcoming Timidity

I think we are all scared to really be vulnerable.

I think that we are all too scared to really let people know who we really are because we are afraid of judgment.

I think we are all afraid of being transparent because we cannot take rejection.

I think that we need to be stronger than this.

We were all created for a purpose. We were all created for a reason, whether you like that statement or not, it’s a true fact. You were created to impact lives, whether that be in small ways or in large ways, but how are we suppose to do such things with such a timid spirit?

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Stephen Medina Photography

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.”

2 Timothy 1:7-8

Personally, I am tired of feeling like I can not speak out what my heart feels. I mean, really speak out, not just saying I am a Christian and that I love Jesus. I am referring to being one hundred percent transparent and vulnerable. Sharing my scars and my victories with others so that others can see the possibility of real growth in trials. I am tired of the timidness of women and men who aspire to do great things but can’t seem to get the strength to actually do it.

Everyone has their story. Everyone has their scars, their failures, their fears, their hopes, and their dreams. Everyone is passionate about something; whether that be about themselves or about their job, or about a dream they aspire to accomplish. The feeling of passion is real, but so is the feeling of fear.

Rejection is real. Pain is real. Fear is real. But so is the possibility of impacting another person’s life.

This world is not in a healthy state. There really is no time for timidness. I so badly want to inspire other’s to push past these emotions and go for the win.

Helping other’s become vulnerable, transparent, and taking their weaknesses and becoming strong is something that I am passionate about. There is no need to be afraid of rejection, you are so loved and adored already.

Everyone is already being quiet. Why not do something different? Is it because you’re afraid you’ll be different? Good. Be different.

You could change the course of somebody’s life if you wanted to, or you could stay being afraid of offending someone.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10


T.

An Open Window Of My Heart

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Trying to figure out where you belong is a difficult journey. What makes it even harder is when you feel called to a certain area or expertise, but the door that leads down that road hasn’t been opened yet.

Have you ever felt this way? Where you feel that you are positive you belong in a certain place, or that you are certain you were made to do something big?

When I first entered my adolescent years I was certain that God had called me to a fast pace, bright lights kind of life. I was certain that he was going to have me travel around the world speaking to other women about how great His work is. My soul was on fire, and there was no containing it.

Around the time when I was ten years old, my mother would always listen Joyce Meyer as she would clean house. If you ever listened to her speak, you would know why I am mentioning her here. Joyce is straight to the point, she doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to salvation. She is confident in the Lord’s capabilities to do a good work, and she want’s you to know about it. Let’s turn the clock forward a few years. When I was fifteen I started doing Beth Moore bible studies with the women’s ministry in my local church. Beth is from the south, she is used to a simple, more slower pace of life; but you couldn’t tell when she is pouring her heart out on stage (besides her big hair, of course!). She is powerful, moving, and confident. Another woman that has had a great impact on my walk with the Lord is Christine Caine. This woman is on fire. She is loud, bold, and passionate. If you were to ask, “who is a good example of a Christian that shows their faith in their works?”, I would point you to Christine. She has a history of abandonment issues and sexual abuse, thing’s that can surely wreck a woman, but those thing’s never kept her from the Lord’s calling on her life, it fueled her fire.

There still is a piece of my heart that long’s for such thing’s, but my certainty was mixed up with my own human emotions. The lights, the attention, the difference being made, all these thing’s were clouding my judgement. But what if you took all that away, the stage, the camera’s, the light’s, would you still have the same passion?

The Lord has taught me many things over the last six years, many that I hope to share with you some day. I am not claiming that my passion or desire to share His works has dwindled, I am claiming that the Lord has taught me something different.

Do you see what I saw? I saw passion, I was surrounded by it. I saw what it looked like to speak and have no fear in front of thousand’s of women. I saw fearlessness, bravery, and confidence. I remember thinking to myself, “this is it, this is what I am meant to do.”.

The Lord allowed me to live with this fire in my heart to see all of the thing’s that faith could accomplish, all of the thing’s that trust, bravery, passion, and fearlessness could do.

I was scared to slow down, I was certain that marriage wasn’t for me, I simply thought I was meant for more.

Oh how I was wrong…

Little did I know that the Lord was calling me to marriage. I fought this and fought this, but ultimately it’s God who win’s battles, ha.

The courtship with my (now husband), was hard. I was in conflict because I felt that God just somehow forgot about “His calling” on my life. Surely I was in for a treat. I was too busy trying to figure out what God was doing, that I couldn’t even sit still long enough to see what He was doing.

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Photography: Stephen Medina Photography

He brought me a man that was all about the “simple life”, and I just kept getting more and more confused. I couldn’t have a simple man, I was made for fast pace! He brought me a man that was full of joy 24 hours a day, 8 days a week, and I am over here stressed trying to figure out which major would get me to my dreams faster.

Do you see the pattern?

I tried to claim God’s calling on my life based on an amazing season that He allowed me to experience. 

I didn’t ask what His intention’s were, I just assumed.

But now that I have learned how to be present in the moment, how to be in the here and now, and not in tomorrow or yesterday, I have gained so much wisdom that I missed out on.

I have gained a fiery passion to reach those who are broken. I am certain of this, and can not be stopped. I will reach those who are in need, and I will share with them what the Lord has done for so many, including me.

I can do this in large, brave ways, and I can do this in small, simple ways. What I know now, that I didn’t know before, is that both of these path’s lead to the same ending.

I can still make an impact, whether that be living in a huge city, or living off of a backroad somewhere out in the holler.

The affirmation is surreal. I never once wanted to slow down, in fact I was always thinking of ways to speed up, but now here I am craving simpler things with a big-fat-passionate-fiery-motivated-heart. I’m not sure of the road that the Lord is going to take take me down in the next season, but that’s okay.

I am going to trust that where I am, and who I am, is where and who I am meant to be. A loving wife. A friend who wear’s her heart on her sleeve. A over organized college student. And a passionate lover of Christ.

With all of that being said, I hope that my word’s encourage and remind you to slow down, to listen, to look, and to trust.


T.