Thursday, September 20, 2012

today is the day before my birthday. it was really really really really special. maybe more special than any birthday has been in a long time. i feel like birthdays carry so much weight and pressure and expectations and i always cry. i mean, there is still time for that but i don't forsee any tears.

nano wished me a happy birthday
i went running and hurt my knee
i am loved.
sarah thomas, her husband daniel and her three childrens came over for dinner and mary did too.
there was a birthday balloon in the middle of the table.
we ate and laughed and i loved it
we didn't complain at dinner, we just laughed well.
then zach made everyone say nice things to me because its a tradition
zach said he is learning a lot from me, that i am black and white and truthful and real about things.
ashley said i was compassionate and funny and that most people aren't those two things together but i am.
micah said he loved that i was so strong and strongwilled and had so much self confidence and was real.
mary said i was her best friend then she cried.
daniel said that the highest compliment he can give a person is that he loves how i love his kids and teach them how to be real human beings.
sarah cried
jeremy said he appreciates that i build him up in his confidence because i am so confident
brian said he appreciates my thoughtfulness and that our friendship is funny and we appreciate funny things and that i'm strong
maggie said that i love her and care for her more genuine than anyone else she knows
sarah stopped crying and said that i'm funny and real and appreciated that i was vunerable to ask her to meet with me and that i love her kids well and that my faith is real and sought after and i'm not ashamed of it or my struggles and that is amazing to her.
alexis said she appreciated that i can see big picture life and not small picture life and i'm teaching her that and that i always encourage her and am so selfless and always help people right then and i put myself aside constantly.
anna said that she knew we would be best friends the first week we were here and that she felt more comfortable around me than anyone else in the house and that we were the deep silence is okay best friends and that she loved it and that i sharpen her faith and teach her not to sugar coat things in life and to be real with people about things.

i fought back tears my lower jaw was literally trembling. i am so loved. then we cleaned up dinner and i opened my package from my mama and then some more presents and then chilled and then zach, jeremy, and micah came in with 6 slushees all different combinations and micah served us all slushees and they were soooo good. then we watched the office and parks and rec and now i'm typing this becaues i don't want to forget it. i am loved.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

this will be a long post, or maybe in parts. i want to write it down so i don't forget.

so 3 years ago (ish)my life was changed. i heard a girl named nikki rice speak in the gardner webb chapel on a sunday morning where all the churches were closed so by word of mouth on facebook we, as a gardner webb body, decided to have snow church in the chapel. i don't think we had music but maybe we did by the unworthy beloved. it was open to anyone and everyone. people that went to all different churches in this town came together to have church. community. the floor was open for anyone. there were no pastors, no organized anything. i only remember nikki speaking and my friend spencer speaking. nikki spoke on her life and her past struggles and addiction to pornography. i had literally never heard a female speak these words before. i don't even remember what she spoke about or how she shared this with us but she talked about the chains and bondage she felt to pornography and how it had a hold on her life for so long. my heart froze inside my chest that morning and didn't unthaw until 8 months later. the rest of the day i was in a daze. that night i had a meeting for a mission trip i was supposed to go on but i was too frantic to go to the meeting. i went to the prayer room in the chapel and prayed and cried and sat because i didn't know what to do. i called chelsea and told her i was crying and she came over. we sat on the worn couch and just sat because i was crying too hard to talk. at one point chelsea just turned me around and held me as tight as she could against her. she was so patient that night. i finally told her that from around 7th grade until christmas break freshman year of college i had struggled with pornography. not addicted, not bonded that i knew of, just struggled. i had never said those words out-loud, in fact many times in my life had vowed to never tell anyone them. but i did. i knew there was freedom in nikki saying it and i knew i'd find that freedom too. so chelsea held me tight and didn't let me go and we processed some of it but i still felt heavy and that wouldn't go away.

a few days? weeks? i don't remember later i went to the river. it was a tuesday morning i didn't have to go to class or something so it was cool out and i set my hammock up in the spot i always, and still do, set my hammock up by the rock. i read and prayed and wrote a letter to god confessing my sin of porn. i figured if i confessed it to chelsea i should probs confess it to the lord. i ripped the letter up into real small pieces, some of which are still in my bible today. most of them though ended up in the river. i stood on the bench by the rock and threw the letter in. then i started throwing rocks. when i get real upset or mad or sad i throw rocks. so i started throwing them and confessing my sins outloud. not just porn sins but all of them. my fears, worries, sins, anything and everything. i know now you shouldn't throw big rocks in rivers because it messes up the irrigation or something like that. sorry broad river. so, threw all these rocks, dammed up the river, and felt bettter. felt free and light. then i turned to get off the rock and there were 15 little purple butterflies dancing in a circle. i threw 15 rocks. either chelsea or sam made the analogy of like me throwing the heavy things away and the lord replacing them with light things. i just saw the little butterflies as total grace. presents. the lord letting me know he heard my cries and loved me anyway. i had a video of the butterflies dancing on my old phone but i guess i never transfered it over. that's okay.

so, life went on. i confessed my sins to the lord and to chelsea so i figured i was good to go. sometimes i felt weird about it but mostly i told myself i was okay. then one of the last weeks of the semester we had the outdoor verge which is the student led worship service every tuesday night. it was the last one and it was outside so we were pumped. i don't remember who i went with...hmmm i don't know. but the songs came on led by the unworthy beloved and i opened my mouth to sing and no words came out. i stood, sat, raised my hands, nothing i literally couldn't sing words. so i sat down and tried to pray and couldn't pray. it literally felt like there was a chain and lock around my heart constricting me from signing and praying. a few songs went by and still nothing. so i looked around and saw this girl rebekah stanford who was like incharge of CMU (uhh christian ministries united or something on campus, the jesus-y people) and was like well she's on cmu counsel she's probably holy. literally that was my thought, i've never spoken to her before, i judged her a lot for being so pious but i couldn't do anything else. so i interrupted her worship and said hey i'm hannah can you pray for me. so we went to the outskirts of the service and she asked me what was up and i told her that i tried to sing and couldn't and tried to pray and i couldn't and i felt like my heart was bound up. so she put her hands on my head (weird, right?) and started praying. praying for freedom and i don't know what else. mostly i thought it was weird her hands were on my head but i felt something. like the holy spirit ya know. then i felt another set of hands, one of my head and one holding my left hand. clearly i opened my eyes to see who else was touching me. it was another girl but i literally didn't know her name, she started praying over me as well. they finished and the girl introduced herself as rachel. she then proceeded to tell me she had a dream about me the night before. great, so hey i just met you, and this is crazy, but my names rachel, and i dream about you. funny. so she tells me that she has this dream i'm running across the ultimate field barefoot (nothing has changed) but i was running so lightly and freely and the lord was there and it was like hebrews 12, i was running the race and stripping off all my burdens. she said i had to slowdown and stop because there was something slowing me down. i couldn't get to the lord because i was encumbered by this weight. she said then she woke up. i think. then she asked me if there was anything she felt like i had to confess or get off my chest so i could run freely to the lord. clearly i had just met her so i said no i was okay. hahahahahaha. what is wrong with me. so they prayed for me again and that was that. i went back to the service and was able to pray and sing. again, i felt like i was done with this.

then school ended and i went home and my life was wrecked. i guess all the distractions i had at school disappated and i was a mess. sin came crawling back and it brought shame, guilt, dirtiness, and hatred for myself with it. i felt like i was going crazy at home before i moved to TN for the summer. i emailed sarah thomas (my mentor) and told her. i got to tennessee which was great and crazy and amazing but i still felt weighed down and shameful and guilty. i didn't talk about it for a long time in my small group or cabin but slowly started telling people my story. every time i did i felt better. that's all i knew. i don't even remember who i told, ashley elder, brit, maybe derrick on accident, ashley sue bell my small group leader, that may be it. i don't know. but being vunerable opens up channels but also let's you know you aren't alone. a majority of the girls i had confessed this to talked of similar struggles. its just SO not talked about. i hate it. i hate it hate it hate it. that's for another post another day. then i took a week off from dollywood and took my highschool young life girls to camp. another post for another day but during the week they have cardboard testimonies where you write your life prior to christ on one side and how your life is different beacuse of christ on the other side. i felt the lord pushing me to do this. so i told hef who is on staff here that i had to do it. she just said okay. so there was a time before the talk that night where we all made our cardboard signs in the clubroom and i was too scared to talk to anyone/trying to hide my cardboard. our area director josh jones came up to me and said so, tell me about that. i cried. i didn't want to tell him about it. he was the closest to a parent/authority figure/adult i had to tell. so he took me outside on the side porch and made me tell him and he asked me what kind of porn it was and how often and talked about how i didn't have to be ashamed because we are all dirty mother fuckers if we want to be honest about it. he said mother fuckers a lot in the real sense of the word and how that is the most vial thing we could be on earth but that's what we are as sinners. then he told me that if i wanted to keep leading young life i had to sign up for an accountability website so someone could see what i was browsing on my computer. ugh. so i did after i moved back to NC from tennesseee. then i showed my cardboard testimony and i cried the whole time and my legs shook. i don't even know what my cardboard said. struggled with pornography, the lord set me free maybe. i do know that the cute boy from florida school for the deaf was sitting right infront and when i turned my cardboard over to the good redeemed side he literally fist pumped. he was cute, i remmeber that. then my girls came up to me and hugged me and other people did too and said stuffl ike thanks for saying that and helping me be set free. its a messy crying time. then i went back to TN and told some more people and still felt heavy. my cardboard was a lie, i hadn't been set free.

my parents and sam came to TN week 8 out of 10 to visit me and dollywood. they came to chapter wrap up on a wednesday night. they sat in the back, i sat in the front. at the end of chapter wrap up before journal time we sang it is well with my soul. the lines
my sin, not in part, but in whole, is nailed to the cross and i bear it no more 
literally changed my life. i literally yelled them in the lodge. my heart broke. i felt it. i felt the chains and lock break on my heart. the lock that had impressed itsself on my heart the night of outdoor verge literally broke. i gasped for air. i journaled about it. i was high on it. it was the best feeling i've ever felt in the world. my parents and sam commented on my loud singing. i didn't care. i didn't tell anyone though. i wanted it to be real before i told people. i wanted the freeom to linger. i wanted to really be set free. and i was. my cabin mates noticed it first. ashley noticed a change in me. a change in my heart. she said i was happier than i had been all summer. i was free. and i was for real. so summer ended and i came back to gardner webb

and i started talking about it. i told rebekah my roommate about it first. i think i told amy brown. i maybe told julia. i don't remember. then FCA sharing night came along. a room full of athletes that i didn't know. and i felt the lord again telling me i had to share. this time in the form of words, not cardboard i could hide behind. so i did. i sat in a chair and sarah stokes and presley were in the back row and jonathan and cody and matt anderson were in the very front. i shared all this. in less detail. and that was that. the lord was good to me. the lord used me. being faithful to him is good. so that night ended and i got over my nerves and kept talking about it. talking about the freedom i had. the freedom i found in the lord. i love it. i wrote letters to dylan from tennessee, my brother sam, and my best friend anna. dylan wrote back. sam didn't. anna did. sam and i talked about it christmas break in his car in the driveway and we cried. i cried. whatever. i told emily thompson that break too. i've yet to tell anyone else in my family. i think my parents maybe know. i don't know. i don't think they know that freedom in the lord so i don't know that they'll get it. i told christine the last time we hung out. i told my sisters in CDH. now i'm telling the blog world. i'm free. brandon was right, confessed sin can't hurt you again. i'm mostly writing all this down because it's my life. and important. and i have a bad memory. and for when i forget nikki rice, rebekah stanford, and rachel who had dreams about me. for when i forget the lord is good. and redeems me from the pit. and loves me more than i can imagine. grateful.

mary told me to write this in one long post. sorry not sorry.

i think life is a little hard right now. i have felt more materialistic than i maybe ever have. pretty much daily i am buying something, or ...