Honking and Hoping

“Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.” -Max Lucado


Tonight I had a group of girls with me after FCA to go to Taco Bell for 4th meal (or first meal for me- i was soooo hungry). I got to the drive-thru and told the woman “I have 5 orders” and she was like, I’m sorry, I can only take two at a time. So we placed two orders for three girls, combining an order and then I said I’d just drive back around. On our way back around there was a man in an oversized white truck trying to cut in the drive-thru line ahead of me, and WITH MY CHRISTIAN MUSIC ON in the background, I kept inching forward. He got ahead of me anyway and I annoyingly honked, but flagged him through and we made awkward eye contact. He looked like he had probably had a rough day, a white male in his late 30’s with dark hair and bags under his eyes, honestly coming across as harsh and unfriendly. The girls in the car were like, just let him go, it’s just taco bell, whatever. And that made me think…. “Ya’ll, what if this is one of those things where he does a random act of kindness and pays for our food? What if he’s sent here from God to test me? What if HE IS Jesus?” My friends chuckled at my quick flip of emotions from honking to hopeful… “doubt it, there’s no telling what he has in that truck or what he’s going through (true) he probably isn’t thinking about anything other than getting through that Taco Bell line as quick as possible.” Well, the conversation quickly turned to other random girl talk, my roommates wedding, our FCA meeting, class tomorrow, etc. When we got to the pick-up window to pay, the lady at the window said “oh, and I just wanted to let you know that the gentleman in front of you paid for cinnamon twist for you” I had chills. It wasn’t a large act, but it was an act, and the whole car was like, oh my goodness, Kaitlin, you called it.

But it’s not about the cinnamon twist. It’s not about the random act of kindness or even how maybe he thought this was being fair or even since I let him in front of me. It’s about doubting him, and then about having faith.

Faith is something that I rarely TRULY think about. I hear the word so often, and use it on so many occasions that I have ceased to remember what it actually means. I dictionary.com’d it and found these results

1.confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
2.belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3.belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4.belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someoneconcerning honesty.
5.a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

I came to a big realization tonight. It took God putting this man in front of me at Taco Bell to open my eyes to the idea of faith. My whole life I have thought of myself as “average.” I was never a bad kid, but I wasn’t the best kid either. I didn’t really push myself to stand out from the crowd. I concentrated heavily on just fitting in. On just being comfortable. On doing what was easy. I dreamed big as a child, but when my dreams stopped coming true and the pain associated with entering middle school, boys, appearance, etc started setting in as I grew up I stopped expecting people to do nice things for me, I mean, why would they anyway? I was just me. I wasn’t anything special. This man tonight brought to my attention that I had lost the ability to trust, I lost confidence in other people because I expected to just be let down.

But that’s just the thing. I’m going to be let down. PEOPLE are going to let me down. God is not going to let me down. I have FAITH in God, I have faith in Jesus Christ, my savior, who was crucified and died for the sins of the world. The whole world. This man in this truck SURPRISED me tonight. He reminded me that it is okay to seek the good, not to be naive or foolish, but to be reminded just about one word. Faith. If I have faith in The Lord, than the Lord will provide. In Hebrews 11 the chapter is titled “By Faith” – Hebrews 11:1 ESV reads “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

In having faith I can rest assured that Jesus Christ is indeed my savior, and that this is the truth for ME. I can stand confidently and proclaim this without hesitation. I can have trust and hope and confidence in my friends, in my mentors, in my professors, my parents, etc. But I have FAITH in Jesus Christ. Because Jesus is the one who is giving me eternal life. While I am here on this earth I can only strive to further God’s kingdom, to glorify him and to live a Christlike life to the best of my ability. I will stumble and I will fall short. The people around me will let me down. This is not to be cynical, but to be true. There are good people in this world, but my God in Heaven is greater. I have faith in that.

Right Where I’m Meant To Be

If you wake up in the morning excited to go to work than it’s not really a job, it’s simply where you are meant to be. Two weeks ago I had no idea what my summer would look like. I was nervous about jumping in to a new situation and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Turns out that my nervousness was a silly emotion to have. Day 1 I immediately knew that this was going to be an amazing summer. I met “the other Kaitlynn” who is the daycamp director for Capabilities and then my boss, Amber, at the church on Monday morning and waited for the kids to get there.

Our kids are the BEST! They each have amazing personalities and their hugs and laughs and smiles completely melt my heart. Though it may seem challenging trying to rally and guide anywhere from 3 to 8 special needs kids, it is all worth it when you learn something that makes them content, or when they come up to you and grab your hand to let you know that they love and appreciate you.

From the very beginning I felt 100% comfortable with my kids and following Kaitlynn’s lead, however, I realize that everyday is going to be different and that I am learning soooo much more every single day.

My whole life I have been so uptight and felt the need to always know what is going to go on when. I felt like by knowing what was coming, than I could sort of control the outcome of certain situations. Even when I worked at Holy Angels I still tried to maintain control of the set schedule and order. I still showed up to work each day with a full face of make-up, I still tried to control my body and my looks through my eating disordered habits.

This past week at Capabilities Daycamp I have gone to work make-up-less, without washing my hair some days. My kids still loved on me. Kaitlynn and Amber still seemed to want to work with me. God still loves me.

I feel myself growing closer and closer to God SOOOO much just in this past week. I have been so inspired and I am so grateful for the opportunity I have been given to work with Capabilities. For the first time in my life I feel like I am exactly where I need to be.

Not once have I felt like I wasn’t good enough for this job or that I wasn’t capable. I have accepted that not everyday is going to be perfect, but there is still something amazing about everyday. Maybe these kids can see my inner beauty? I know that I try to see theirs. I love them so so much.

When you work with individuals with special needs you learn to put others needs before your own, but I don’t even think about that. I kind of forget about anything else going on in my life/ anywhere else in the world and I put all of my focus into the then and now of Capabilities. And that is an amazing feeling.

Here’s an example of our daily schedule

9:00-9:30 Arrival and structured free play
9:30-10:30 Outside activity
10:30- 11:00 Bathroom snack and water break
11:00-12:00 Fine motor skills (craft/art/puzzles)
12:00-12:30 Half day dismissal/ Full day lunch
12:30-1:00 Clean up/ Bathroom / Transition to exercise
1:00-1:45 Exercise (Warm up, Stretch, Yoga, Weights)
1:45-2:00 Fitness Activity
2:00-2:30 Music movement
2:30-3:30 Bible story time; learning through active drama
3:30-4:15 Game Time
4:15-4:30 Cool Down/ prepare to leave

I feel as if Kaitlynn’s brains and mine are somehow on the same wavelength most of the time, like it’s truly as if most of the time we think or go to do the same things at the same time. Not only is that cool while working with someone, but it’s really cool because I think that after this summer is over that i’m going to have an amazing friend out of this.

I truly feel as if I have come full circle. I have never felt healthier emotionally or physically, and though i’m not in the BEST shape of my life, I am happy, and I am strong, and I have the energy along with the patience to keep up with my kiddos.

I was listening to Britt Nicole’s song on my way home yesterday and it just hit home. Love it.

Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh
You were walking on the moon, now you’re feeling low
What they said wasn’t true, you’re beautiful
Sticks and stones break your bones, I know what you’re feeling
Words like those won’t steal your glow, you’re one in a million

This, this is for all the girls, boys all over the world
Whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
So hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
From the inside out it shows, you’re worth more than gold

Well everybody keeps score, afraid you’re gonna lose

Just ignore they don’t know the real you
All the rain in the sky can’t put out your fire
Of all the stars out tonight, you shine brighter

This, this is for all the girls, boys all over the world

Whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
So hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
From the inside out it shows, you’re worth more than gold

So don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not loved
And don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not enough
Yeah there are days that we all feel like we’re messed up
But the truth is that we’re all diamonds in the rough
So don’t be ashamed to wear your crown
You’re a king you’re a queen inside and out
You glow like the moon, you shine like the stars
This is for you, wherever you areThis, this is for all the girls, boys all over the world
Whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
So hold your head up high,
It’s your time to shine
From the inside out it shows, you’re worth more than goldSo don’t be ashamed to wear your crown
You’re a king you’re a queen inside and out

Letting Go

So, I feel as if sometimes when I talk I detach myself from my words. I ramble. I get caught up in details because the big picture seems just so, well, big.

In the past few years I have become accustomed to just “going through the motions.” I had to do what I had to do to get by, to advance. I merely told stories by stating the facts, removing myself from any emotion that those facts may hold.

But facts DO hold emotion. I come back at the end of my days and I think about how many emotions I held in, and by that time my brain has become so tangled up that I am unsure of how to process and unravel the emotions that have occurred on a particular day. I am not a shy person either, so I find this to be somewhat strange that I hold so much in, but at the same time, I don’t find this to be at all surprising. I could go out and talk just about anyone’s ear off. I could turn a 30 second story into 3 hours. Remember that one time….. oh brother, don’t get me started. And especially don’t get my started on my crazy dreams…. those make no sense and will take me DAYS to try to explain. My mom says sometimes I talk just to hear myself talk.

But I am definitely NOT one of those people who can think and talk at the same time. It’s one or the other. It’s not very calculated. This is why I like to write.

I feel like I could write something and have someone read it (or maybe not) but i’m not seeing their immediate reaction. I also feel like, what happens if I show emotion when I speak? How will others react? I don’t want to make anyone else uncomfortable if I tell a story and start bawling my eyes out, or freak someone out with my crazy hyper excitedness. I have learned that some things take time to process, and that sometimes you need to have that little bit of hindsight, and that sometimes you have to just let things sink in.

In writing, I give myself the opportunity to think before I put down my words (well- most of the time at least). I weigh the words in my head. I like words. I like the way that some words work with other words, I like repetition. I like adjectives. I like how I can go back and edit my words that I write- so that I can make sure that I am describing something the right way.

But, what’s right? Why do I have to be right? Why do I get so worried and so caught up in being wrong, in making mistakes? I am going to make mistakes. I have to accept that. It’s the fear of having others be disappointed in me that makes me afraid of being wrong.

I have come to the realization that this need for control issue that I have, this irrational fear of having to be good enough before I can be accepted has been the main barrier that has been blocking me from being fully able to trust. And if I can’t trust others, how in the world can I trust myself? And if I can’t trust myself, how can I love myself and how can I believe in myself? How could I ever believe that I am truly loved? How could I believe in God’s love for me? I sometimes feel like I’m not good enough for God to truly love ME.

I felt like I was constantly a work in process. I felt as if I was constantly climbing and climbing and climbing and fighting. For so many years I have been struggling. I haven’t loved myself at all. I have tried. I have come close. I feel like I am soooo close, like my fingertips are reaching out toward this light that always seems just out of reach.

Sometimes I feel as if I am just drowning in this self doubt. I can’t control what others think of me and that bothers me. I just want people to like me. I want people to be like, “oh yea- I know Kaitlin, she is so sweet, pretty, nice, etc….” But sometimes I feel as if I don’t fit in anywhere. It’s this uneasy feeling that I have to keep fighting to be smart enough, pretty enough, cheerful enough, stylish enough, preppy enough, likable enough, skinny enough, good enough. ENOUGH. enough is enough.

It isn’t about ME. It’s not. It’s not about me or my flaws or the way I judge myself or the way others will judge me. It’s about Him. It’s about God. God is the one that will judge me when it is my turn to be judged. God KNOWS that I have flaws. He knows that I am not perfect. And he knows that that is OKAY. Last night I had a great talk with a wonderful person and friend named Quinn who works for FCA and is just so spiritually sound and approachable. She asked to hear my story after reading my last blog. I am so so thankful that she took the time out of her day to meet with me. She is amazing and she reminded me of this verse, and since I am very new to the bible, I had never heard it before. “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith — and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God — not the result of good works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10. This verse has stuck with me. I have been saved, and not because of anything that I have done. This was God’s plan. She reminded me that Jesus said to his followers to drop everything and to come as they are. Flaws and all, to step away from their own lives and burdens and follow Jesus, who in return promised them salvation. He said to put his trust in him and that things would be ok. Until today, this never made sense to me. How could people just let go like that? What about their responsibilities? How? But- it makes sense to me now.

Jesus did not wait for his apostles to be good enough before they would be allowed to follow Him. They followed him whole-heartedly. They dropped everything and went. They then became good enough. They were more than enough. They then were able to share the Good News that the Lord had to offer through what Jesus was teaching.

So why should I expect so much more of myself? Jesus has asked me to follow him, even though i’ve struggled, and even though i’ve messed up.

Quinn lent me her copy of JD Greear’s book, “Gospel.” If it weren’t for schoolwork and babysitting I probably wouldn’t put the book down. I’ve only just begun to delve into the first chapter and i’ve shed some serious happy/eye opening tears over the first few pages! I like how JD’s message is just jumping out at me.

An excerpt that really jumped out at me the most is this “Have you ever looked at your life and thought ‘Why am I still so impatient? How could I really be saved and still have such a problem with self-control?’ I certainly have. If anything, the more I’ve walked with Jesus, the more aware i’ve become of my sinfulness. Jesus, however, did not tell me to ‘abide’ in my fruitfulness. He told me to abide in Him– in His acceptance of me, given to me freely as a gift.” (JD Greear p. 13-14) Later on p. 14 he also states “You concentrate on Jesus. You rest in His love and acceptance, given not to you because of what you have earned, but because of what He has earned for you.”

WOW. just. wow. How amazing is that. How eye opening is that. And how amazing is that to hear this message at this point in my journey. It’s comforting, and so calming to feel this change in my heart. I can’t lie and say that it’s not a little scary as well, but we all have fear, right?

So, in writing this tonight, I guess I am writing to say that I accept that enough is enough because I AM good enough, because God loves me first. GOD is enough! I just need to let go. Because, like Quinn reminded me, I can’t do this on my own. I give up on trying to do things on my own. I give up on my foolish pride. I give up. I’m LETTING GO.

All of this being said, I want to share the Tenth Avenue North song
“Let It Go” http://youtu.be/wGT64oRO3gQ (appropriate, right?)

I’ve been holding on so tight
Look at these knuckles they’ve gone white
From fighting for who I want to be
I’m just trying to find security

But you say let it go
You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the one’s who lose control
You say You will be everything I need
You say if I lose my life it’s then I’ll find my soul
You say let it go

Well it’s hard enough to hear
Harder still to move beyond this fear
We know there’s nothing I can bring
So tell me what do you want from me

You say let it go
You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the one’s who lose control
You say You will be everything I need
You say if I lose my life it’s then I’ll find my soul
You say let it go
You say let it go

What do I love
What do I hate
What will I lose
What will I gain
How do I save my soul, oh
What if I bend
What if I break
What will it cost
What will it take
For You to save my soul, oh

You say let it go
You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the one’s who lose control
You say You will be everything I need
You say if I lose my life it’s then I’ll find my soul

You say let it go
You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the one’s who lose control
You say You will be everything I need
You say if I lose my life it’s then I’ll find my soul
You say let it go
You say let it go



I want to thank my everyone who continues to support me as I continue on my path to being me as I begin to realize that the way to that pure joy is through my Savior. So… thank you Quinn- who reached out to me and took time out of her busy schedule to meet with me, who wanted to hear my story – she’s truly opened my eyes and I can’t thank her enough, and I can’t say enough good things about how truly wonderful she is. And to Sandy, Elizabeth Ledford, Rob Shields, and all of FCA and all of those on the FCA retreat and everyone who shared our little room at camp dixie (Stephanie, Alex, Emma, Ashley & Whitney). Thanks to Cameron who was an amazing huddle leader and who told me the verse “Exodus 14:14” which has been on my heart everyday since then and to all of Huddle 10 for supporting me on that wonderful retreat weekend and to Kayla, Anna, LB, and Laura for listening to my rants that night.To my bestest friend Ashley G who texted me relentlessly over and over for the past 2 years until I finally got my butt to church and to cru and then to FCA and who I can honestly say kickstarted this journey for me more than she will ever realize in this lifetime, I owe so much to that girl. Thanks to my other bestest friend Ashley D who just “gets me” and who keeps me laughing and grounded and who reminds me that I can just be my crazy silly self and that people will still love me despite my weirdness/uniqueness, and to Logan and Laura Kay for putting up with me last year in 2210. To Whitney W for her great insight and advice and ability to offer different perspectives on situations from angles I didn’t even consider, to my wonderful roommate Melissa for all of our vent/chit chat sessions and for helping to motivate me no matter what, and especially to my parents who over the years have turned into much much more than just parents and role models, but to the people that I know I can tell anything to and who will still love me- my parents are truly the absolute best parents ever and I am so blessed to call them mine, and then there are my siblings Hillary, Janelle, Collin- who even though they each know exactly which buttons to push that will set me to tears or fury also know more about me than I know about myself, and who will always remind me when I don’t match or when i’m getting too out of hand. To my grandpa, who passed down to me the love for writing after his own amazing journey as an author and story-teller himself and to my Grandma who “appreciates the importance of pearls and cashmere”. To Meem, who tells me that no matter what that things will work out, and to my cousin- not-so-baby-anymore-Nate, who through his 4-year-old wisdom allows me to tap into my own imagination which had been very dust-covered as I became overly distracted with school and other stressors and who is never without hugs or honesty. And to the rest of my family, friends, classmates, MCGs, camp family, etc. Thank you to everyone who is supporting me on my journey to be me.

Happy 122nd Birthday to my most amazing school!

Please join us in wishing Meredith College a very happy 122nd birthday today!

Each year, a day is set aside for Meredith to honor its founding on February 27, 1891. Founders’ Day is marked by a convocation address and remembrance of Thomas Meredith, Baptist leader and advocate for women’s education. The College’s name was changed in 1909 from Baptist University for Women (Baptist Female University, 1891–1904) to honor his work in founding the College.

In honor of her birthday, we encourage each of you to take a minute to remember all of the reasons why Meredith College is such a special place.


View original post

Exodus 14:14


So, a kind of unsaid “new years resolution” for me has been to strengthen my relationship with God through gaining a better understanding of Jesus Christ and his teachings.

In recent years, religion has just been a difficult topic for me. I was raised Catholic. My parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles are all Catholic. I was baptized at just a few months old. I got to hold the candle in the front of church when my little brother was baptized. I went through first communion and first reconciliation in second grade. I played soccer for the Catholic church. I went to a catholic school for pre-K, and then again for 7th and 8th grade. In 8th grade I went through confirmation, and then in 9th and 10th grade I assisted as a confirmation table leader.

Thanks to my parents and my family, I have a pretty good head on my shoulders. I know right from wrong, and I stand firm to my morals. I don’t seek trouble, in fact, the though of being “in trouble” is terrifying to me. My family has always said grace before meals. I knew that being nice and being honest would get me farther than lies and being nasty.

However, I found it hard to be fully connected. I never really grasped the fact that you have to work on a relationship to sustain it, or that you have to do the work involved to get the outcome that you want. I struggled with this big time, and I still am struggling with this. I get lazy. I have the roots planted for a great foundation and relationship with Christ. But somehow, I feel as if my growth was stunted long ago.

I don’t know if this is because I felt confined in my Catholicism, or if I was overwhelmed with being that Catholic girl living in the bible belt (I have been asked if I have been “saved” more times than I can count, and each time, I just get confused and laugh… yes?) I felt terrified of my sins, not that I had done anything terrible, but mainly, I just felt that I didn’t do anything that was really THAT good. I didn’t necessarily ever believe that by confessing my sins to a priest would ever absolve me.

As a child- I remember saying my prayers before I went to bed. I remember just KNOWING that Jesus loved me, that I had angels watching over me, etc. I felt so safe in this fact when I was young. So safe, that I still remember vividly, when I truly felt God’s love around me.
I had this habit when I was 4-5 years old of jumping off of my top bunk onto a bean bag chair on the floor below. It was a game to me, I was a fearless little kid. It wasn’t really even jumping, it was more soaring/belly flopping. It was soooo much fun. But this one time I climbed the ladder to the top bunk and leaped off, and instantly realized that the beanbag I was aiming for was too far away and I was about to bust face HARD, probably breaking at least one bone. But instead of panicking, I remember turning my head to the right, gazing over at my dresser and focused in on this little elephant lamp that I used to have. I swear to you, time froze. It was for maybe 0.0001 of a second, but time stopped, and when it restarted, I kind of floated downward, as if I was being placed lightly onto my beanbag. It was like someone had a grip on the back of my shirt and moved the beanbag so I would have a gentle landing. I never saw a great flash of light, I didn’t really even know what happened, because I was only 4. But someone was looking out for me.
I have had other instances too, like 3 months after getting my license and not realizing that you’re supposed to yield while turning left on a green light and letting out a scream as I realizing that a car was speeding right at me, and I pressed my foot to the ground and gunned it through the intersection. I swear I missing a collision by inches, but I felt my car glide through, as if it were being pushed by some other force driving it. Again, I felt so thankful for being safe.

But I haven’t been thankful enough. As I said. I have been lazy. I never owned a bible growing up. I wasn’t familiar with how to read a Bible, I wasn’t familiar with the books, the readings, and His word. I only half listened to the gospels in mass, but I never really got it. I just knew the main stories, like the Christmas story, and the story of how Jesus was persecuted under Pontius Pilate.

In middle school my life changed. I became a selfish girl. It started when I went to the public middle school, Southwest. I was supposed to have been placed in the honors class, where a lot of the kids that I went to elementary school with along with a lot of the kids from my neighborhood. But that class filled up, and I was quickly exposed to a class whose teachers thought that we weren’t as bright or as worthy as other students. All around me girls were getting boyfriends, talking about how much they wanted to get their periods and have sex. And they were 11! I felt so embarrassed and ashamed of myself and my body at that time. I started my period when I had just turned 10, right at the beginning of 5th grade. My body was more developed than most of the other girls my age, and while I was still small and petite, I just felt awkward and ugly and overexposed to these girls who were showing their bodies off when I knew they were WAY too young. I even remember a girl who sat in front of me in class cutting herself daily. One time she showed me how she carved the word “boys” into her arm. I am still haunted by that image. I remember being bullied for being a “goody two shoes.” In band, I remember crying because these girls were picking on me, I don’t even remember why. Eventually I started lying to my family and those around me, living in my own story land in order to get ANY sort of attention. I stopped enjoying going outside, I found chatting on the computer to be more fun, at the time. I regret that now. I went through 4 different teachers that year in 6th grade. That year my relationship with my siblings also started to change. I had once been extremely close to my middle sister, Hillary, but I started to shut her out, getting annoyed with everything that her and my younger sister, Janelle did. Even my little brother didn’t seem to like me, and I seemed to always be getting yelled at for having an attitude. I was completely miserable. This is when the hatred for my body started, and I began shutting out others in order to attempt to control my body. I loved food, but i loved control. The eating disorder started slowly… more of an attempt to fill a void. It was very subtle for a long time.

In 7th and 8th grade my parents switched me to the Catholic school. It wasn’t a great experience, but It wasn’t as bad as Southwest, I admit. I could be myself more, I could be goofy. But even though I was at a catholic school, I had no motivation for school or for learning or for friends. I just wanted to get to high school.

Then I got to high school. I had my friends. I wasn’t “popular” but i wasn’t unpopular. I was just kind of there. I was still trying to figure out my body and how to dress and accessorize it. Pinterest wasn’t around back then, and being the oldest of my siblings and overall just clueless, I feel like I tried to be stylish but didn’t always “get it.” I felt as if I could just figure out how to make my hair look right, if I could have that perfect relationship with a boyfriend, if I could have those giggly girl-talk sleepovers, that I would be happy. I joined chorus, and since I wasn’t athletic (looking back, I probably could have been, i was just too terrified to try out for cheerleading or soccer) I decided to be a basketball manager in order to get out of school early. I then became a student athletic trainer, and I loved that, but even then, I lacked motivation. I still had this battle going on with myself, coupled with silly high school dramas and fears. I didn’t care about going to church. I didn’t even THINK about God that much during high school, other than helping with confirmation during 9th and 10th grade. My struggles with my body image was there, and my friends knew about it, however, I remained in control of my weight and was able to keep it a secret from my family.

I came to college very sheltered, but at the same time, I felt like “this could FINALLY be my chance. I could finally  have that group of girls like on the movies. I could finally fit in.” But I tried too hard. I threw myself into so many clubs and tried to hang out with people, drink, go to parties, as well as go to Catholic Campus Ministries. The pressures of everything was getting to be too much. I ended up quickly losing 10lbs my first semester of college. Then I started passing out all the time, and ended up in the hospital during exam week my freshman year. And I lied to everyone, saying that I didn’t know WHAT the problem was. I returned to school the next semester feeling more defeated than ever, and though I started seeing a therapist, I still felt as if I had already messed everything up too much. I felt as if I was already a lost cause. Finally my sophomore year of college my parents found out what was going on and gave me a 4 day warning to pack my bags and come home.

I went home and worked first at a bookstore for a year and then at Holy Angels, a residential facility for individuals with severe and profound disabilities for a year, and finally I decided that I needed to get back to school. That was my goal. I just had to get back. I cared about getting a career, about meeting friends again, and about hopefully maybe finding a boyfriend.

I have been back at Meredith College for almost 2 years now. I had to repeat my sophomore year last year. I met some really great girls right off the bat and was lucky to feel as if I FINALLY belonged. I was more motivated with school my grades.

Finally, this past year I finally let my guard down. I started to open up and show more of who I am, and the honesty was freeing. I didn’t have to hide behind this mask anymore. I found that people loved me for me. Now I just needed to work on fully loving myself. But how do I do that?

A good friend of mine has begged me over and over and over countless times for over a year to come to church with her. And over and over and over I have avoided it. I was terrified of going to a different church, not because I was scared of it not being Catholic, but because I just wasn’t sure my heart was ready. I believe that Church is church. You can have church in a canoe if you really wanted. I also believe that the love of Christ comes from within. I believe that church is wonderful, but I don’t believe that I am going to be condemned to hell for not going.

My good friend never gave up on me, she texted me every week inviting me to church among other things. She even bought me my own bible and got my name embossed in it along with a daily devotional, Jesus calling. It was amazing! She recently started going to FCA (fellowship of christian athletes) and after some slight begging, she got me to join her. I also joined her in going to a non-denominational church for the first time as well. I was really worried with FCA because I am not an athlete, but I quickly learned that that wasn’t the point. I went on the FCA retreat and my eyes were opened to so many positive people around me who were all actively sharing and believing in the love that God has for us. It was such a cool thing to be apart of, and to witness people truly believing, not just going through the motions.

I don’t think i am not going to give up on my catholic roots. I was born catholic, my family is catholic, and much the history of christianity is deeply rooted on the catholic foundation and has branched off from there.  But I have found that this is an individual journey. This is about me and Him. I don’t have to be so confined. Right?

In last week’s FCA meeting with NC State (meeting in the second story of the Cameron Village Chick-Fil-A) they said “you can’t achieve a horizontal love with another person until you focus on that vertical relationship.” That has stuck with me so much, along with this verse read aloud by my Huddle Leader, Cameron, at the FCA retreat. Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still.”

I realize that since middle school I have been fighting with myself. I have constantly been battling with being unsure whether or not I will ever be happy, find a job, find a boyfriend, be pretty enough, smart enough, good enough. I have come to the realization that i AM enough. Because God loves me. Jesus died on a cross for my sins. So how could my sins be so great that I couldn’t be forgiven? How could my time of laziness and lack of motivation be ignored?

“The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still.” –Yesterday it snowed here in Raleigh. We got about 1/4 of an inch, the ground was too warm for much to stick, even though the snow fell in big, fat flurries the whole day long. I decided to go for a walk. I layered up, two pairs of socks, leggings under leggings, t-shirt, sweatshirt, scarf, northface, hat, and those cool touch-tech gloves that allowed me to use my camera and iphone easily. I went down to Meredith College’s amphitheater and was completely by myself. I stood on a bridge as snow fell all around. I stood there for a long time, watching the geese and feeling the snowflakes melt on my face.

I know that God loves me. He created me. He created all of these beautiful things around me. I can’t let myself be distracted with feeling like i’m not good enough. I know that it is still going to be a battle, but I now know that I’m not fighting it alone.




My thoughts on the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy

Disclaimer: I really do want to start blogging. These are my thoughts. They may or may not always be grammatically correct, they may or may not always be backed up by sources, resources, articles, etc. They are my opinions. They may differ from yours. This is allowed. And that’s ok.

So- lately I, as most of the nation, have had Sandy Hooks Elementary School on my mind nearly constantly for the past week. I too have been at a loss of words about this seemingly senseless tragedy. It absolutely breaks my heart that those children, teachers, and principal had to die in a loving school environment, where they should feel safe. It breaks my heart for the parents of those children, so close to Christmas. It breaks my heart for their siblings. I have only the deepest sympathy, and I wish that there were something that I could say that could help ease the pain. I can’t even imagine a loss so great.

Since this horrific event has happened, the media as well as ordinary people in ordinary conversations have brought up the issue of gun control, and of mental health. People are arguing what’s right, what’s wrong. I too find myself asking why, as the world pauses and inserts all of the “if only’s” (I will interlude here to insert my favorite lullaby written by Louis Sachar in the book Holes:
“If only, if only,” the woodpecker sighs,
“the bark on the trees was as soft as the skies.”
And the wolf waits below, hungry and lonely.
He cries to the moon, “if only if only.” ) We always seem to be grasping for things that are just out of reach. We constantly find problems instead of being grateful for what we are given. People, myself included, take so much for granted.

As I get angry at the fact that this massacre occurred, I also get angry at the fact that everyone considers there to only be 26 victims (and well, also at the word “victim,” but that is a different story.) I believe that there were 28 tragic deaths that day. I also believe that everyone who has been affected by this shooting at Sandy Hook has been victimized.

But this brings up a deeper issue. Should we mourn the killer? Should we pray for his murderous soul as well? This is the part that people may disagree with me about. I pray for Adam Lanza. I am the type of girl who instinctively seeks to see the good in others. I honestly and truly believe that every person is good. I believe that good people do bad things. I do not believe in bad people. Perhaps I see the world through rose-colored glasses. Perhaps I am too optimistic, giving the human race more credit than it deserves. I am still torn, as I have given this thunk a lot of thought. I go back as I think about the other murders that I have seen depicted on the news, story after story of violence, night after night. I think back to this summer, the massacre at the Colorado movie theater, I think back to Columbine, to Virginia Tech, to Oklahoma City. I remember being 5 years old, living in Lawton, OK at the time and going to see the Oklahoma City Bombing memorial. I forever will remember a picture of a very pretty toddler pinned the the fence, wearing this beautiful dress and big sun-hat. I didn’t even have to ask my mom, I knew that she had been one of the children who died in the bombing. That picture has haunted me my whole life, knowing at a very young age that life was precious and that it could be ended by anyone, for any reason, or, sometimes even without reason, at any time.

I believe that people’s lives are made up by a series of choices, and I believe that one thing leads to the next. In the case of Sandy Hook Elementary, I believe that Adam Lanza made a very bad choice. Whether or not I truly believe he was a bad person, I just can’t bring myself to do that. I didn’t know him. I’m not at all defending him. He killed, he senselessly murdered innocent people. He stole precious lives away from precious families. How could he? So many questions. I can’t pretend that I have the answers. All I have is hope.

I know that much of the world still is grasping for answers in this terrible tragedy. I wish that we had the resources to protect everyone from this kind of instantaneous harm. I wish that we weren’t becoming so accustomed to hearing about these sort of tragedies.

Even still, I hold to my belief that people are good, and that circumstance, illness, and strings of bad decisions leads to bad things. Our responsibility? Be kind to each other.

Stay Strong Newtown. God Bless.

The Meaning of that Little Black Ring

The Meaning of that Little Black Ring
By Kaitlin Petruska

Onyxxxxxxx picture!!!!!!! “  Shouted a girl from the class of 2012 at last year’s class day; “Kaitlin, will you please take a picture for us?” insisted one of the girls. Without an ounce of hesitation, I took her camera and was instantly handed four more (for Facebook purposes, of course.) Quickly and effortlessly a group of twenty or more girls from my Big Sis class leaned in smiling, right hand out, onyxes sparkling. The lovely ladies of the class of 2012 were laughing and enjoying their day, despite the looming rainclouds that would soon move the ceremony indoors.  I couldn’t control my own smile as I snapped picture after picture, thinking to myself about how in just a few more months that would finally be me and about how I couldn’t wait to finally have a little black ring on my own finger.

After I handed the cameras back to their rightful owners, I glanced down at my own onyx-free hand, nail polish chipping, and I felt a rush of emotions wash over me like a bucket of cold water. I couldn’t tell if I was happy, sad, ashamed, or hopeful. There were just so many feelings racing through my brain as I recalled how much that onyx would mean to me and how many years I’ve been waiting to wear it—to  wear the ring that symbolizes so much here at Meredith and that has symbolized so much for so many past generations.

I thought about my own freshman year, which unlike the rest of the class of 2014, was back in fall of 2007. I made the decision to come to Meredith because my mom had gone to a small, private women’s college. The choice to come to Meredith felt so perfect and so fitting. However, back then I was so shy and timid, and I so wanted that “true college experience” more than anything. I remember trying to find my place in the sisterhood, desperately trying to understand and asking breathlessly over and over what Cornhuskin’ was, and trying to figure out who I was and where I was going. I remember as a freshman trying so hard to fit in, not yet realizing that true friends would accept me for who I was inside.  My efforts rapidly turned sour, and I became so overly concerned about what other people thought of me that nothing else in the world mattered. After a year and a half I wasn’t attending my classes, and all I cared about was losing weight and what I looked like.  I let an eating disorder take priority over my college experience. Once my parents finally figured out what was going on, they gave me a four-day warning to pack up my dorm room in Brewer and come home.  I still cannot look back on that day without shuddering. I look back as I carried out boxes to my mom’s minivan while my friends went on with life as usual on their way to classes, texting, and making lunch plans. Back then, I was convinced that day was probably the most humiliating day of my life.  Thinking about that day now, I think about it as the most humbling.

I missed Meredith every single day when I was back at home in Gastonia. I missed the freedom I had, I missed my friends—I missed the sisterhood. I kept telling myself daily, “This is only temporary,” as I fought tooth and nail against the eating disorder that was keeping me away from a place that I had learned to call home. I only viewed Ring Dinner from Facebook pictures as my original class, the class of 2011, received their onyxes. Finally, after two years of hard work and the patience that it took holding down a full-time job, I had proven to myself and my family that I was ready to return to school.

I still had some worries about returning to Meredith College as a sophomore last year and starting anew, this time as an Even, but I must say that the decision to return and enter the class of 2014 was the best decision I have ever made. They have embraced me and accepted me for who I am without question; I have learned so much from these amazing women and I have never felt so blessed.  I know that these friendships will last a lifetime. Most importantly, I know that these lovely ladies will be there to encourage one another throughout the journey and remind us that we can live out our dreams, just as so many angels already have. To the class of 2014, thank you so much! Congratulations on that little black ring, ladies! Always know that you are all strong enough, you are all smart enough, and you are all beautiful enough. Now it’s our turn, ladies! “Onyxxxxxxx picture!!!!!!!”