God is the Realest

Every year a couple of seniors that are active in FCA at Meigs High go to the middle school to lead the school’s last FCA meeting of that school year. The meetings now have to be student led so a few of my classmates and I were asked to lead the meeting. Unfortunately, everyone involved with Meigs Middle School, along with our whole community, are suffering from the loss of one of their fellow peers who decided to take her life. Knowing this, we were very nervous as to what to say and what not to say. Long story short, we serve an AWESOME God who never left our sides during the whole meeting.

Coach J, my FCA huddle leader/ freshman english teacher, asked me about a month ago if I wanted to speak to the middle school FCA on May 29th. I of course said yes then started scrambling as to what I would say to them. I surfed the web for different ideas to try to get some inspiration for a devotion (that’s what my job was) but came up short. Nothing clicked. I then remembered that I forgot to do the most important thing, pray. I immediately prayed about what to talk about and a small thought came to my mind. It was something that only a handful of people knew about me. It was super personal and I liked to keep it hidden. So I told God no. There was no way that I could possibly have the courage to talk about that. So I continued to search for ideas and I got nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing came to my mind. Again, I came up short.

Two weeks later I heard about the news that a little girl in 7th grade at Meigs Middle had taken her life. As my heart dropped and my mind went blank, God spoke to me. Much clearer this time. I knew that I could relate to these kids with my own struggle so I finally took a huge leap of faith and listened to what God wanted me to say.

Here’s an overview of all the ways God used my peers and me. The meeting started off with a song sung by Ally and Ashley Clark. Alec McKenzie then spoke about high school FCA, and Kaley Meadows followed by giving a powerful testimony. Alec, Kaley, Megan Holmes, Taylor Boggess, Tristan Fischer, and Tyler Lawson acted out a hilarious but powerful skit called “The Sin Box.” The skit specifically talked about how nothing or no one can pull you out of the sins in this world besides Jesus Christ because he took our sins to the cross a long time ago! Whew!

So the time came, and it was my turn to speak. Oddly, I had a sense of peace overflowing my mind and body. And this is what God laid on my heart not only for those suffering middle schoolers to hear, but for people in my own school, community, and even the people who follow me on social media.

Everybody has at least one struggle. Maybe you have friend drama, family problems, relationship problems, or you’re scared of failing a test. Maybe your pet just died and you don’t know how to cope. Maybe you’re struggling with temptation, addiction, finding your identity in Christ, or maybe you’re struggling with anxiety and depression. No matter the situation or hardship you’re going through, you’re not alone. Here’s what God says about struggle.

“‘In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,’ says the Lord”

Okay stop there. I don’t know if I’m the only one, but that verse gave me chills. So God is telling me that the pain we go through has a purpose??? And we’re sure he really said that? Yes! It clearly states, “says the Lord” so it’s plainly written out for us. Whew! Again!

The personal struggle that I was talking about earlier came about my sophomore year. I began to have an urge of sadness following me around wherever I went. I didn’t think much of it so I just played it off because my life was great, my friends were great, school was great, and basketball was great so I told myself I didn’t have a reason to be sad.

So I let it go into my junior year. This year was a tad bit worse. I began to have breakdowns and meltdowns throughout the year. I missed out on different things that my friends invited me to. I didn’t have any feelings or emotions during my spells. Again, I pushed it off because my life was still great. I just thought I was stressed from school. I told myself that I could just be happy if I got through junior year. Summer ball would back up and senior year would be fun so I continued to hide this hovering feeling of mine.

Summer rolled around and it got worse. I slept all the time. I missed a few ball practices. I didn’t go to camps that I had already paid for. I missed the 4th of July celebration. I knew something had to be wrong. So I told a few people about my struggle. Some blamed it on me being a girl and how us girls get “emotional.” Others said that it was just a side effect of my sleep disorder that I have-which is hypersomnia. I heard “but Kelsey, your life looks perfect on the outside,” or “you always look like you’re having fun on what you post on social media though,” or my favorite, “someone always has it worse.” I listened to what they were saying and told myself the same thing. That it was normal and harmless and it was expected because of my conditions.

My senior year rolled around and fall break came. This was the roughest spell I had ever been through. I was scared. I felt hopeless and useless. The little urge of sadness became a hanging cloud that wouldn’t let me go. I sat in my room either staring at a blank wall or trying to sleep to forget about my pain. My friends tried to come over and I wouldn’t let them. I barely ate. I became overwhelmed with anxiety. And I became the worst version of myself and blamed God. So I knew I had to do something. I finally called this “thing” what it really is. Depression. Of course depression can be a side effect for many different things. It can also occur during hardships. Or even a simple imbalanced chemical in your brain. Whatever the circumstance, depression is still depression, and it’s not cool.

Before I let it overcome me I finally got the courage to tell my mom. She cried with me and comforted me during this rough time and I didn’t know why I didn’t tell her sooner. I got help and was doing great. I pushed it into my past. I found hobbies and activities that I enjoyed doing. I kept myself busy with numerous of things. But I also became selfish. I still didn’t tell anybody about my struggle because I didn’t want anyone to look at me differently. I wanted to be the happy-go-lucky Kelsey that everyone saw on social media and in my community. I didn’t use this struggle to reach out to anybody until now. Of course I regret not spreading awareness sooner, but I feel as if God was preparing me with what to say and how to approach it. When I went through those hardships I questioned God. Why me? What did I do to deserve this? I’m a good girl. I don’t do drugs. I don’t drink. I don’t mess around with boys. I don’t party. So what did I do to deserve this?

He told me that this was the reason. To talk to people who have the same problem as me. To maybe even touch someone and give them courage to come out of their shell and speak about how they overcame their struggle. Or maybe to give strength to someone who feels like there is no way out to tell someone reliable that can help them.

Before the meeting, I was nervous that my message wouldn’t touch anybody. I was scared that I would say the wrong thing or that people wouldn’t believe me. God granted me reassurance after I finished my message at the conclusion of the meeting. Ally and Ashley played a song of invitation and encouraged the students to come to us and let us pray over them. During my 3 years of going to that middle school, I vaguely remember any students coming out of the stands to ask for prayer, or even raise their hand in the air to praise our God. This is how awesome the power of God is. As soon as the music started playing a 7th grade girl came down to pray. I asked if she would share her struggle with me and with teary eyes she looked at me and said, “depression.” At that moment I knew that taking that leap of faith was worth it, and I knew that I had the ability to reach out to this young girl. We cried and we prayed and she went back to the bleachers. When I looked up, I saw that girl with her arms reached towards the sky, unashamed. She started a flame and eventually more students lifted their hands high. I looked around and saw students talking to their teachers. I saw these young middle schoolers singing their little hearts out and being unashamed about praising their God. I saw tears and hugs from friends making up. And it only got better. As the students were walking out of the gym, a boy came up to me with his friend by his side and gave me a huge bear hug. He said “thank you, I really needed that,” with tears flooding his eyes and his friend rubbing his back. All of those actions are enough to speak volumes on how real our God is. It goes to show that there truly is a purpose for your struggles. God calls us to be open and raw about our faith so I encourage you to not hold back because you never know who needs it. And if you EVER feel like your struggle is about to overcome you please tell someone. Trust me, people care about you. Especially our Lord and Savior. So bring all your burdens to Him.

“The sufferings we have now are nothing compared to the great glory that will be shown to us.” Romans 8:18

 

 

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Prom on a Budget

I recently attended my last prom as a high schooler. I went through many trial and errors since my first prom to make sure my senior prom wasn’t a disaster. My mom was even impressed on how much money I saved preparing for prom since my brother’s prom experience was more expensive than mine. She was so impressed that she kept nagging me to make a blog post about it. So here I am. A week after prom. Sharing the easiest ways to be nice to your bank account on prom night.

As we all know, prom has sadly (or happily) come and gone for most of us high schoolers. Although the glam and the glitz allows us girls to finally have our princess fairytale, the money that comes along with being a princess (we’ll pretend that we’re actual princesses) is over-the-top. I think our parents can agree with me on this one. It actually isn’t fair how guys can just rent out a tux for the night and brush through their hair one swift time and bam they’re ready and rushing their date out the door (or if you’re like me and didn’t have a date, moms do the same thing) and us princesses need weeks of preparation. What? Weeks? Are you out of your mind? Well maybe, but if you talk to any girl who has went to prom they will agree with me. So you might be saying “okay Kelsey get to your point, I’m trying to save money here.” Well good news, hold onto your panties because your mind is about to be blown.

The first thing girls need for prom is a freshly coated set of fingernails and toenails. Most of the time, we call a few weeks or even months before prom to get a nail appointment. So yes, I lied earlier it takes longer than weeks to prep. Oops. Here is the first hack of how to get pretty nails without spending a fortune. You paint them. But Kelsey why would I paint my own nails when I could just pay 40 bucks for them to fall off eventually. Exactly. Prom is one night. Your nails will hold up for one night I promise. But Kelsey what if I want a cute design on them? Good question. Walgreens has the answer so check there for easy stick on prints to add that glitz to your nails.

The next problem that us girls encounter is HAIR. Maybe you have too much or too little or just enough. Still, the perfect up do can make or break our emotions for that night. The key is┬áto not pick your hairstyle the day of or it will result with tears on your light-colored dress. Nobody wants an emotional break down on their prom night so save yourself the tears and the Clorox sticks and choose your hairstyle before hand. Then have whoever plans to fix it on prom night to practice a few days before to make sure you like it. But Kelsey how does that save money? That’s the easy part. Just don’t pay. It’s that easy. I’m not saying to dine and ditch with your fresh locks. I am saying that there is SOMEONE you know of that can fix your hair for you whether it being your mom, friend, or even yourself.

Now that we’ve saved a small amount of cash, we have room to splurge only to save even more cash. Makeup meltdowns happen when someone else does your makeup and you’re too afraid to tell them that you don’t like it so you wait until the moment you see your mom to cry it all off. We don’t want makeup meltdowns so here’s how you avoid them. Do your own makeup. But Kelsey I don’t know how to do winged eyeliner and I don’t know which eye shadows, lipstick, or blush will match my dress. Have no fear because Pinterest is here! Hop on the Pinterest train and search “prom makeup” and then you’ll be a pro. Once you’ve found the colors you think you want on your face, head down to your local convenient store and purchase whatever makeup you don’t have of your own. The tricky part is to by the cheapest but best quality product because, again, you’ll only need it for one night.

Now that you have your Pinterest inspired prom look, you see that the girls in the photos have all sorts of accessories. Bracelets, necklaces, head pieces, you name it. So you look at shops to find your perfect pieces only to find out that it all costs an arm and a leg. Don’t feel intimidated. There is a solution. Make it. But Kelsey I don’t get it make what? Make your own jewelry. For example, this year my friend McKenzie insisted that I have some sort of head-piece in my hair. So we surfed the web to find the perfect “Vanessa Hudgens bohemian Coachella inspired hair piece” only to find out that there was no way we would have time to order one online. So we put our brains to work and realized that we had all the supplies to make one ourselves. All you need is old necklaces and a chain clipper. We popped that hair piece out in 5 minutes tops. If you don’t have the skills or time or patience to make your own, you can always just look for a cheaper alternative at a thrift store. Trust me, no one will notice.

Now the most important part. The dress. Buying the perfect dress is torture and I think most girls can agree with me. There’s nothing better than being surrounded by beautiful girls trying to find their dresses with their moms gasping at how beautiful they look and you’re wishing your mom would’ve taken you out to lunch after the dress extravaganza instead of before so you could actually fit into the abnormally small dresses. Just kidding I could think of a lot more things better than that. However after the day is over and we have our perfect dress, the stress and bickering has finally come to an end and we realize how fun it actually was to try on dresses. Kelsey, you’re rambling again get to your point. Oh, right I almost forgot. Instead of trying on the dresses you like before looking at the price tag or noticing the price tag before hand and trying it on anyways just for funzies. Don’t. Just don’t. I know it will be hard but it will be worth it. Find cheaper alternatives instead and think of ways to fix the parts you don’t like. You will find one dress that has potential and then you’ll know what I’m talking about. If your grandmother is a sewing pro, ask her to help you. If not, take it to an alterations store. Get the dress altered the way you want it and boom you have your Cinderella-dressed-in-yella dress.

After prom, you start to head toward your eating destination that you’ve already reserved. Yes, that’s me telling you that it’s a great idea to reserve a table before hand. But you realize that the restaurant that you’re going to is super expensive. No problemo! Just order off the kid’s menu, or better yet just order the cheapest meal. Also, order water. That’s a given.

Once your tummy is nice and full, it’s time for activities. During your prom planning meeting with your friends you notice that their suggestions involve paying your other arm and leg. We don’t want that to happen so collect yourself. Stay Calm. Don’t worry. Gently┬átell them that you read a blog post about how to save money on prom night. That will catch their attention. There’s plenty of wholesome things to do for fun after prom without getting arrested. You could go to someone’s house that’s in your group and have a bonfire and laugh (or cry) your night away by telling stories and catching up. Or you could project a movie onto a white sheet outside. The only advice I have is to not tell your siblings about your plan to watch a scary movie. Outside. In the dark. Next to the woods. From one scaredy cat to another, just avoid telling the pranksters in your family. This next activity is for all the competitive people out there. A scavenger hunt around your town. This, too, can be found on Pinterest by simply searching “prom night scavenger hunt.” It’s that simple.

Bada bing bada boom. There we have it, folks, a nice quality, common sense list on how to save money for prom. I have no doubt in my mind that over half the girls that go to prom already do these things. For the girls that have many proms left to go to and are desperate to save a buck or two, these tips will save your lives. And here’s the finished look.

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