One thing I haven’t done too well is share with the general public what I’m doing over the next 11 months. In 2016, I went on a mission trip to Guatemala with a group of New Orleanians-ish. It was more or less a seed planted not even on fertile soil. At my worst, I’m stubborn, calloused, tough, defensive, arrogant. Definitely an idiot. But something about the love of Christ gets to me. The love of true, mature Christians softens me, gives me hope. It makes me feel beautiful, see the good in myself, see beauty and the good in others, and appreciate beauty and good in the world. God is such a safe haven for our emotions. And we’ll get to a bit more of that later… A few themes in my life since reaching adulthood have included working too hard, trying to prove I’m not what my actions between 2007-2012 say I am, pleasing everybody but myself, being in debt but remaining optimistic, being pissed off, acting immature, feeling insecure, making bad decisions, maintaining an obnoxious level of good health (my blood pressure is always low), and pushing others away. …But that’s where God comes in. He brings me back to a place of beauty. He washes away the sins of this world and covers us with Himself. His Holy Spirit restores us to our former selves, he restores our righteousness, he restores our relationships. He forgives our sins. He forgives our sins now and he forgives our sins of the past. He forgives our future sins. He is a good God. Despite overwhelming anxiety (the kind that feels like the universe but with an element of physical and emotional pain #blackhole #stars #asteroids #swirls #universe), I’ve decided to branch out of my own. Before Christ, I escaped my debilitating panic attacks by 1)Taking it out on my boyfriend/family 2)Accepting it and being miserable 3)Internalizing it and being miserable 4) Ignoring it and being miserable. I would say that over about 10 years time, this is the exact order I coped with anxiety. One of the excellent points of Christianity is that you are seeking Him through obedience and righteousness. When you strip your life of the factors that could be affecting your mental, spiritual and emotional health, a true examination of the root issues causing pain in those areas can happen. Then, true counsel and guidance can be accepted. As my career as a teacher began to blossom in New Orleans, the stress of my job exposed some weak coping areas, also cultural conditions for moral or ethical compromises that I could not make–and would be a hypocrite for not accepting. Alas, I find myself in the position to do what God has called me to do. To serve.