midsummer

I love celebrating midsummer, it's my favorite summer celebration next to my birthday!

This year was a little different because we usually celebrate midsummer with my family at the High Coast but this time around we stayed in Umeå. We did anyhow have a really good time, both visiting the probably saddest tivoli I've ever been too (but with some mean slushies!) and celebrating midsummer's eve with some of my favorite people and good food.

Sami and I went to Axel's tivoli and it's probably the smallest and most boring tivoli I've ever been to, to be honest haha. However, I wasn't there for the rides anyways so after checking out the place we went for the donuts. The donuts were a total disappointment but the ice slush (something I usually don't like) was soooo tasty! We took our stuff, walked up the stairs of Väven and sat at the edge of the building watching over the whole tivoli while we shared a donut + slush. <3 

On midsummer's eve we gathered the family for a picnic at Gammlia and I even managed to get a hold of my Kristina who FINALLY is back in Umeå for the summer! Gosh how I love these people. Later mom and I went on a BBQ with her friends and we spent the evening there talking, eating, laughing, eating and having a really nice moment of prayers (food above, insert heart eyed emoji). Two absolutely lovely days in a row! 

peace over circumstances

You know how it goes. "If only I it was like this, I would be at peace."

I'm going to tell you a short story pastor Andreas Nielsen of Hillsong Stockholm shared a couple of weeks ago. He told us about a man he'd met when he was in Congo. This man and his family lived in extreme poverty, he was lame from his knees downward, his children weren't able to attend school and the family was struggling to access water and food. Many of their circumstances were definitely not celebration-worthy and completely heartbreaking. Still, this man thought of himself as incredibly blessed and that he had so much to be thankful of.

His peace didn't rely on whether or not he could walk. His peace didn't rely on whether or not he could provide for his family. His peace didn't lie in his circumstances. This man thought he had no reason not to thank God for what he have been given and had no reason to not live in thankfulness.

It wasn't until a couple of weeks after I attended this sermon, when I had come to a point where I felt like dissatisfaction, unhappiness and stress was getting the best best of me, the thought hit me that I've been relying so hard on my circumstances and that it was necessary for me to rely on something more sturdy and consistent. I realised I was at a point where I had calibrated my life toward my circumstances and toward the prayers I didn't think God had answered and it was making me absolutely miserable.

Jesus talked about having peace even when there's no logic to it. The Son Himself knew exactly what future was awaiting him, still he found peace in God until the end. Peace is a gift we choose to receive from God, a gift that always is offered and although we wander, confused on our own, He is always there lovingly waiting for us to accept the gift he has for us. Something not dependent on our circumstances and something that goes against everything that is logical and reasonable. Something that is steadfast.

I guess it's a lifelong practice, so it doesn't hurt starting early, aye? While I have to keep on practicing on giving my worries and concerns to Him, my newest addition on the daily will be on calibrating my life toward thankfulness instead of my circumstances. If the man in Congo who was lame from his knees down, who couldn't provide for his family and lived in extreme poverty could find no reason to not live in thankfulness, I sure must be able to let God's peace flood my circumstances and life too.

the real reason why some people are bad for you

A good relationship is an investment, a bad one is a bill.

My sorting process of relationships has been insanely prominent the last one and a half years and although I wouldn't say my circle necessarily has become smaller, it has definitely been refined and become something more defined as equal commitment, love and respect rather than messy, half-good and "okay, I'll settle for this because this might be as good as it gets".

I've definitely found myself in the wrong & at times really bad contexts so as any other human, I've seen the bad, and obviously lived it. Tried to understand and make sense of it. And most lately - tried to understand what it is that has actually brought me to the point where my current relationships are so fulfilling, healing and loving, in contrast to the mess of relationships I've had.

What is it that actually make some people bad for us? I mean, not all people that are bad for us are actual bad people, right?

Let's simplify something that we tend to make a little complicated.
Drop the "good or bad" label.

The problem is when you shrink.

The problem is when the impact someone has on you keeps you in bad habits and or make you act stupid. When it's suddenly harder to make the right choices. When the addictions you try so hard to leave behind are encouraged. When you play smaller. When you lower your standards, out of fear or out of the intelligence to survive.

All these things will restrain you from all the potential and greatness that is you, that you have and can become. So that being said, it's no longer about them but about your choice of where you want to continue your investments. Investing in a company that would take neither you or that company anywhere would make absolutely no sense, so why do that with our relationships?

It's not about kicking someone out or making someone suffer. It's not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance. It's solely about shifting focus and realizing that we are the ones now responsible of moving ourselves out of the equation. 

Of course, the process of refining and redefining your circle however naturally it occurs can at times be really painful. Just keep in mind that the pain and perhaps feeling of loneliness is always temporary. 

Make that space available for people who unlock your greatness, people you can commit to, love hard and who allow you to be the best and loveliest version of you. Ask yourself, do you have to be less to make it work, or is there room for you to grow? 

xo

to my single mama friends (on love)

First of all, queen, I see you.

Second of all, I don't think people tell you enough times how great of a job you are doing stepping up trying to do the work of two people and doing your best trying to raise your little babies to be healthy and feel loved. (Mom, I'm in awe of what an amazing job you've done with us girls and still do!)

I have a friend who is in the process of divorce and we've been chatting a lot about finding love as a single mama. How hard it is not only trying to find a guy who fits you (hard enough!) but also someone who is willing to welcome your little munchkins as part of his new family too. 
Hearing her thoughts about the whole situation always make me a little sad. I mean, she's amazing. Whoever has the honor of standing by her side is a lucky guy, and her babies can seriously make you happy on your saddest day. 
I bet it feels really hard, being a single momma thinking about if it's ever possible to find a healthy and beautiful relationship again with someone whom you can build & grow with, and someone who is also willing to raise your kids as his own. I can really only imagine.

Last night I read a part of Ryan Spear's "Young man, Rumble" and found this really beautiful part where I ended up thinking about my girlfriend and all you other queens out there raising our future. It is beautifully written and it reminded me of why I love writing and how big of a difference it does when someone dares to be transparent & vulnerable in an attempt to help and do good in this world.

I hope this excerpt from "Young Man Rumble" will infuse at least a little bit of hope when it comes to single mama love, when hopelessness is all you feel. Because hey, there's actually men out there who will adore all of the beauty & loveliness God created you to be and who will think that what you've been shown and told is a burden to many, will to them be a blessing and answered prayer.

"I've had talks with different guys about blending families. Some express how they don't want anything to do with a single mother. They have no interest in raising another man's child. They have the right to feel this way, it's their life. Everyone knows what they can and can not handle. For me, I had to handle it.
If it wasn't for my father loving, and marrying a single mother, and stepping up to the plate to raise her son in 1976, I would never been born ten years later. 
How could I possibly be scared away by the very action that made it possible for me to be here?"

- Ryan Spear (pg 108. "Young Man, Rumble")

xo

walking with God, closing up 2016

Woke up earlier this morning feeling all kinds of blessed. Except perhaps me having with a nasty cold for the second week in a row now haha. I can't complain though because my boyfriend made this sick period incredibly bearable. I totally knew how to live a good life being single but seriously, I wouldn't trade living life with my guy for anything in this world. Life with him on my side is just a million times better.

Let me start by saying that 2016 was one of the greatest in terms of my personal faith becoming the strongest it's ever been. It was by far my weirdest year ever. Without going into details, the happenings of 2016 made me come to terms with who God is for me. 

Throughout my personal story, "Are you even there, God?" has been a frequently repeated question. Of course, I've never had to work very hard to find God in the good times, but I'm sure I'm not alone when I say it's not equally easy when you're on the brink of death, if you're really ill, if you experience abuse or rape, lose someone you love or find yourself in any other situation where you feel like your spirit is left broken and your heart likewise. 

2016 was my questions changing from "God, why are you doing this to me?" to "Where are you? I can't see you. I'm breaking and I need you."
There is a huge and vital difference between these two questions, one implying that God is having his hand in darkness, the other being me not seeing him in the darkness I am finding myself going through. This has been such an important change of mindset to me. I am still left with the question why bad things are allowed to happen, but to think that there is a God who loves me more than any human can ever do, is empowering beyond measure.

Because He is not the one putting me through horrible things to teach me lessons or beat me up for my wrongdoings. He is the one helping me through them so that I can heal and make something useful out of the pain. He's not the representative of evil. He is the one representing all that is good.

Isn't it just really amazing that although we wander through this fallen world lost and sometimes on the wrong path, God is always wooing us back to Him. Through a new realization. Through a new encounter. Through things that make our heart flutter; coffee with a friend in the afternoon; baby cuddles; a helping hand or a new opportunity. It is the ultimate love story. Jesus loved us so much that He gave his own life for us, knowing what we've done and knowing what we will do. That is the love He has for us, and that is the example of loving being set for us.

It is the ultimate love story.

2016, I don't want you back but you closed up really well. However, I just want it to be said that you've got nothing on 2017 because it's already my favorite year ever. Tomorrow it's Valentine's Day and I can't believe I'm actually going to spend it with the man I intend to share the rest of my life with. 

I still have to pinch myself. 

God, you sure work in mysterious ways.