Why I Started The Hoot & Howl
It’s been said that the one thing in life that can be counted on is change. That was the story of my life in 2017. I started the year as a full time university student, living at home, and engaged to a wonderful man. By the end of the year, I was graduated, had a full time job nannying for a family with special needs children, and was married (and obviously living with my husband...). These were all super exciting changes! Graduating was such a relieving accomplishment. I had been nannying with this family for quite a few years already, so transitioning into full time right out of uni and right before marriage felt like perfect timing. And getting married to my best friend was amazing!
Change for the Worse
So it came as a bit of a shock, after all the busyness and immediate excitement had worn off, to find myself at one of the lowest points of my life. Life was going well, and I had every reason to be happy...but I was miserable. Everything felt wrong. I had hit so many milestones in one year (actually, in just a few months!), and now I had no clue where my life was headed.
Drowning in Change
My life was practically a fairytale...but what’s a fairytale without a good villain? My villain snuck in without me even noticing. I think I had been struggling for a long time, but it took me a long time to be aware of it. When I finally realized I was struggling, I still had no idea what I was fighting against. I felt sad (or worse: completely numb) all the time. As a student I had been accustomed to the extreme pressure of deadlines and high performance. I also kept a very busy schedule with school, homework, part-time jobs, volunteering multiple days a week, attending church, and somehow also having a social life consisting of family, friends, and a fiancé?! It was intense, but normal. I knew exactly how to function under that pressure, and did just fine. But the stress I was experiencing now was different – less intense maybe, but no deadline in sight. Just a quiet, drawn out stress. My schedule had even become a little less demanding. But I was drowning. I was completely directionless. Somewhere along the line, I had lost myself in transition, and wasn’t really sure what I was doing with my life anymore. I was trapped and I didn’t know how to get out. Little did I know my knight-in-shining armour was already fighting to save me.
Step One: Identify the Enemy
God is faithful. That is a truth I clung to throughout the months of hardship, and that is why this story is able to have a happy ending. Despite going to church and feeling a physical weight pressing down on me, despite being unable to sing or pray anything but, “Jesus, help”, God was faithful through it all. After months of struggling through all my transitions, I finally figured out why this process was so hard for me – the enemy was taking advantage of me. He had caught me at a vulnerable time of change, when my guard was down because everything was going so smoothly and happily. He wiggled right into my life and whispered lies of fear and worthlessness. He made me believe that my life at that point was meaningless, and that there was no way out. When I finally identified the enemy in my life, I was mad. How dare he try to steal my joy and make me ineffective. Figuring out what I was fighting was a good first step, but I still wasn’t really sure how to pull myself up out of the hole I was in.
Step Two: Back to the Beginning
I decided to go back – back to the things I knew brought me joy and pleasure, before this downward spiral started. I started spending more time with God again, even though it felt a bit forced. That was by far the best thing I could have done in this situation. But beyond that, I returned to hobbies and activities I enjoyed – more reading for pleasure, and I started writing again too. Through my life I've found that my hand is often far smarter than my brain - it tells me things about myself I never knew and can also come up with some pretty great ideas. Paper has a way of making me be more honest than I can even be in my own thoughts. So I wrote about everything - what I was thinking and feeling, what I was struggling with, what I wanted, what I dreamed. All these things gave me release and the space to start growing again. I was beginning to find joy in my days once more.
Step Three: Start a Blog
I was still feeling unfulfilled in my life, and while I loved my job, it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to make a Kingdom impact with my life, I wanted my job to be something I enjoyed, and I wanted a way to connect the two. One day, I was having coffee with an old friend, and declared, “I should just start a blog!” In the days following I began to think, “Well...maybe I SHOULD just start a blog...”, and after that I just couldn’t shake the thought! This dream began to take root and grow. And after a few confirmations from God, I decided to take the leap.
God's Faithfulness in the Change
Through this whole process, I never doubted God's faithfulness. So much in my life was changing, but I knew that He never would. He is good. He has blessed my life abundantly in so many ways already, and I believe He will continue to do so. There have been so many times in the past where He has brought me out of the depths, and I knew He wouldn't leave me this time either. While it took a while to start to feel normal again, let alone happy, I could still stand in the knowledge that God was not leaving me alone and He was not leaving me there - He was with me and He had a plan to keep me moving forward.
Why I Started The Hoot & Howl
Now I had made the decision to start a blog! It was kind of a no-brainer what I wanted to write about. After spending a few years volunteering in a youth organization, I knew that I was passionate about sharing Jesus with youth and young adults. Those years in a person's life are such a huge time of growth and change, and I can personally attest to the difference that Jesus' love makes in those times. Sharing God's comfort and hope with others is my main goal with this blog. I also love to study the Bible and sometimes get way too excited about what I'm learning (if it's possible to be too excited about Jesus) and I have to share with someone! Bible history, the meaning of things in the original Hebrew and Greek, connections throughout the Bible, brand new revelations - they all get me pumped! The final element of my blog had to be my nerdy side. My day-to-day life is permeated with a touch of nerdiness, so there is really no avoiding that. God's love can be shared through fandoms, movies, books, and games - and, bonus, they're just fun. I'm so excited to see where this blog will go, and I am so stoked to have you join me on this journey! Welcome to The Hoot and Howl.
What are some big changes in life that you've struggled to come to terms with? Comment below!
Struggling with change now? Check out my post with some tips to combat getting lost in transitions.