The Summer of "Oh."
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The Summer of "Oh."

Acknowledging that life is disappointing while believing that God is not.

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The Summer of "Oh."

Before you read this, I have to tell you something. The first part of this article was written about 2 weeks before the second part (the two "parts" will become obvious as you read). I initially wrote this because I felt compelled to write down the events of this summer so that I would look back and remember exactly how I felt. I ended the first part stating that I would write an update. Well, instead of posting the article, I saved it for later. God worked in my heart and created the perspective in me that drives the second part of the article. This is one, giant article that consists of two "before and after" type articles that captures one of the hardest seasons that I have experienced and the perspective change that was a result.

So, about two weeks ago, I wrote this:


The summer started going a bit sour before school had even officially let out. I had this amazing opportunity to work at a summer camp as a photographer and I couldn't have been more excited for the experience. Wonderful people, serving kids, utilizing my photography skills for the kingdom. Heck yes. But then, I felt it. The gut feeling when I prayed. The lack of peace each day that I ignored it. The "you can't commit to this, you have to back out" feeling.


God urged me to cancel my dream job and my plans to work at a summer camp as a photographer.

"Oh."

I backed out. Anxious over my decision, I kept close to God. I had just been asked on a date by a close guy friend that I had liked for months. What a blessing!! I felt distracted and excited by the new relationship. I began to believe this small blessing could be the reason I was urged to stay in Athens instead of at camp. Before I could focus on that, I had a trip planned as soon as finals let out. I was going to see my grandmother who was battling cancer and recently told me that she was doing great. Things were good and I was hopeful. I arrived in Cleveland to see my grandmother and my mother picked me up. Bad news. Horrible news. Cancer is worse. Hospice. Weeks to live. Dying.

God allowed my grandmother's cancer to advance, giving her weeks to live.

"Oh."

I returned from Cleveland eager to pray, find peace, and plan the next trip to see her as soon as possible. About a week upon returning home, I see a post on Facebook. The trial for the murder of an old friend would be coming up and available to watch live online. I had to watch, although I knew it would be hard. I had to support her family and understand the sentencing and the plea deal. So, I watched, tearfully, for hours.

The murderer of my friend only gets 17.5 years in prison for her crime.

"Oh."

With bad news flying into my life left and right, I developed an anger problem. I thought I struggled with anger before, but this was nothing like I had ever felt before. Everything made me mad. I was easily angered, sensitive, and pushing people away. I wake up one morning to the ringing of my phone. It's 6AM, it's my mother on the caller ID.

God took my grandmother to heaven before I got to see her again.

"Oh."

Grieving, and still dealing with a severe anger problem, I find that keeping up with a new relationship is extremely difficult. Fears emerge. Doubts emerge. Stress, anxiety, self esteem issues, shame. Maybe the timing just isn't right. I don't feel like myself, but I didn't want to let go of the one thing in my life that seemed to be going right. Pushing these doubts away, I continued to look forward to spending time with my family. I went home for Father's Day. I walk into the house and I see my dog had an accident. He's thinner than the last time I saw him. I hug him.

The next day, on Farther's Day, my childhood dog dies.

"Oh."

Another weight of grief weighs on my heart. Another reason to be angry with God. Pain seems to be the normal feeling I wake up with, but I try to stay positive. I go to the same job I have had for a long time, eat the same foods, follow the same routine. No new experiences. Nothing new on the resume. Just a lot of new pain. Numbness fills my life, and it comforts me. A break from the pain. Just ignore the pain. I try to find joy in my new, developing relationship. I spend a weekend with him that gives me hope and peace. I feel happy and confident, for the first time in a while. The feeling was not mutual.

The person I wanted to be with, didn't want to be with me anymore.

"Oh."

This was my breaking point. You can ask my close friends, it wasn't pretty. A lot of tears. I spent some time venting and yelling at God. I couldn't contain my frustration, or my anger, any longer. Numbness wasn't an option anymore, because my heart was broken in too many ways to ignore. I lost my grandmother. I didn't get to spend time with her before she passed. I didn't feel like justice was served in favor of my friend. I lost my dog. I was in a city that I didn't want to be in for the summer. And last, but not least, I was rejected and lost a close friend.

Luckily, when I got to my breaking point, I made a good choice. I chose Jesus. I chose hope. I chose feeling my pain over ignoring it, I chose confiding in God rather than pushing Him away. This wasn't the more comfortable option. This was the painful option.

I couldn't have a full relationship with Jesus without bringing all of my pain, hurt, and broken expectations. I had to face them head-on, but I didn't have to face them alone.

Just because I began trusting Jesus fully didn't mean that the hardships and disappointments ceased. I am well aware that this "season" of hardships may last longer than the summer. Heck, it could last years. But I can get through it with Jesus.


I will write an update one day. I believe there will be an amazing testimony concerning the purpose of this season. I want anyone going through something similar to truly trust in the plans God has for you. He is working in the darkness, He is molding and shaping and preparing you for greater things to come. He is stirring up emotions and feelings in you that will make you stronger and give your soul more depth and understanding. Nothing is in vain. Put your hope in the Kingdom of God. Put your hope in the promises God has made to you. Do not put your hope in your circumstances or the people around you.
One day, I will see the purposes and reasons behind my pain.

My response will be (almost) the same.

"Oh!!!"



Ok. That was part one. If you've made it this far, thank you! I hope my initial attitude and negativity didn't get you down. Here I am, writing that update. It's only been about 2 weeks, but I have some new truth. I have a new perspective. You ready for this?

"God urged me to cancel my dream job and my plans to work at a summer camp as a photographer."

Correction: God guided me to Athens instead of camp, because He wanted me to be here, rest, and grieve with Him in a quiet environment. My dreams plans aren't always HIs dreams for me, and I trust His are better. He had specific plans for me to deepen specific friendships and to focus on taking care of myself and my relationship with HIm. Why? Because He loves me so much and wants me to be rested in the midst of grief.

"Oh!!"

God allowed my grandmother's cancer to advance, giving her weeks to live.

Correction: God gave me years and years and years of close relationship with my grandmother despite having multiple forms of cancer that even reached stage 4. God protected my grandmother from death for years and only allowed this to happen at the right time. He didn't allow this to happen in vain or without purpose. This moment should've happened months after her first diagnosis, not several years later. Her life was a gift to the very last second.

"Oh!!!"

The murderer of my friend only gets 17.5 years in prison for her crime.

Correction: My friend is in heaven. God is the only judge that matters, and only his sentencing will be truly just. There is no true justice in this world, only God can provide true justice. The end of the trial is a blessing. My friend being in heaven is a blessing. God is taking care of my friend more than any justice system could.

"Oh!!!"

God took my grandmother to heaven before I got to see her again.

Correction: I will see my grandmother again.

"Oh!!!"

The next day, on Farther's Day, my childhood dog dies.

Correction: I was blessed that I was home to be with my dog when he died. If it had been any other weekend, I may not have been there when he died. God loves me so much that he ensured I could be with my dog when he died. HIs timing is perfect.

"Oh!!!"

The person I wanted to be with, didn't want to be with me anymore.

Correction: He is following his heart, which He has given to Jesus. I can not only trust him, but I can trust him because He follows Jesus. It is my joy to suffer for the sake of God's plans for me and for him. Thank God that he was around to help me through a hard summer, thank God the breakup caused me to see where I was hurting and what I needed to talk to God about. This had to happen, and I learned so much. Also, we're going to stay friends. (Take that, Satan).

"Oh!!!!"


There is always redemption. It takes time for your perspective to change through Jesus. Press into Him. In His nearness is truth and peace. In this world there are a lot of lies and pain. I hold onto nothing, knowing well that God has control of my life in ways that are for my good. God is truly bigger than anything this world can throw at me, and it took a hard, painful season for me to learn that.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed." Psalm 34:18

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