Who am I? This is a question that I ask myself a lot. For many years I wasn’t able to answer this question. Some days it’s too hard to answer. God created me to be who I am and I sometimes find myself arguing with the Creator about why he made me or that he made me wrong. Know this, God has made you fearfully and wonderfully made. He made each of us for a purpose.
So who am I? I used to say…
I am a daughter
I am a friend
I am an old soul
I love ice cream
I love games
I love Coke
Books bring me joy
But while these things are me, more importantly…
I am a clean slate. God has taken away all of my mistakes and given me a sense of peace. I am new. I do not have to be my mistakes. I get to start new. I am choosing to let go of the old me and I am embracing the new me. Part of embracing the real me, I need to remember the lessons I learned from my past.
So who am I really?
I am Hannah Ayres. I am almost 19 and I am a freshman at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne. I am a new creation. I am ready to show people the real me. The me that would rather send snail mail over email. The person who would rather go out to lunch then text all day. The person who is content just sitting inside reading a book instead of scrolling through other peoples life. I am the person that recognizes that I need to do some things differently than what the world tells me. I need to go on walks everyday because it is good for my brain. I need to go to bed at 10pm instead of staying up all night because it gives me a fresh start.
As you continue to read my blog you will catch glimpses of the real me. I have big dreams and I see things differently than most people my age. I hope that I can inspire others to take a leap of faith and embrace who God made them to be. I hope I can encourage people to look past other peoples judgment and become who they were truly made to be.
I want to share a lesson that God has been teaching me and I carry with me everyday. In the summer of 2018 I went to Jamaica on a mission trip. It was my first mission trip and I was very nervous. I just wanted to do the work God had laid out for me. The second day in Jamaica we went to a school. I was put in the 6th grade class and I met this boy. He was a third grader. He had somehow gotten into the class and was participating like he was one of the 6th graders. I went over to help him with the puppet project we were doing and that is where the lesson begins.
The next day we are taking the bus into the school and we turn around to see kids running after us. They were so excited to get to school because they knew we would be there. Once we got there we barely got off the bus before they tackled us into hugs. The same 9 year old found me. He hugged me and never left my side the rest of the day. The next day… the same thing happened. I couldn’t believe that someone would purposefully find me and want to be around me. I didn’t think I was the kind of person someone could like.
It was hard to leave Jamaica but I took with me the start of a lesson on love — that it is okay to love myself. This is a big lesson to learn, so God has used people in my life here at home to keep teaching me about His love. God’s love has many characteristics.
The little boy in Jamaica showed me God’s love is unconditional. It’s easy to forget this lesson, and sometimes I fall into the trap of believing I need to earn love. God didn’t want me to forget his unconditional love. This summer another little boy, Levi, showed me that God’s love is unconditional just because he likes doing things together like painting and swimming.
My friend Parker shows me God’s love is unchanging. I’ve not been the easiest person to be friends with over the years. Middle school and most of high school were not my finest moments. Parker always talked with me and wouldn’t leave me friendless, even when I deserved it.
Karianne shows me the consistent love of God. She lived with us when I was in third grade and now she lives exactly 4,068 miles away. The distance doesn’t stop Kari from checking up on me every week. Regardless of time and distance, Kari is never t busy to send a text.
Rebekah shows me the faithful love of God. As one of my best friends she is able to knock sense into me. She doesn’t allow me to make excuses for why I shouldn’t do something God wants. She holds me accountable, which is an important part of the faithful love of God.
Susan, my friend who is a little farther along in years than me, shows me love cherishes people. She treats me like I’m special, but is also willing to shove me out of the nest I like to call “my comfort zone.” She cherishes me and always says, “You are smart, pretty and funny.” She’s helped me learn that God cherishes me and wants the best for me, too.
My parents show me that God’s love is ever-growing. Like most of us, I’ve always felt bad when I do something wrong. I used to hide from my parents because I felt embarrassed about doing the wrong thing. Getting older didn’t seem to stop me from doing wrong things. There were some rough years. But my parents, they kept loving me. They would tell me to take a deep breath. I would breathe in and then my mom would say, “Every time you breathe we love you more.” It didn’t matter what I did or didn’t do, they kept loving me…more. I didn’t believe it for a lot of years, but now I see it. God wants me to know the same is true about Him, His love for me is always growing.
It seems when God wants us to learn a lesson, He won’t stop teaching us. He keeps teaching me that His love is big and has many layers. I’m surrounded by people who love me, and if I listed them all, we would be here all night! Sometimes people didn’t even know they were showing me God’s love. I used to be someone who cared more about getting what I wanted, than about accepting love from God. Now I know that God is the only one who can fill the hole in my heart.
I’ve recently started to let myself be transformed by love. I’m not ready to say I’ve totally learned the lesson, because I think learning how big God’s love is is a lifetime journey. I do know that when you let yourself be transformed by love will you be able to transform others by love. I can think of no better way to make the world a more beautiful place than for all of us to be transformed by love.
Forgiveness… Something that, for me, seems to be very tricky. But in the past week God has been trying to get me to learn how to forgive not only others but myself as well. Forgiving others comes fairly naturally for me. Forgiving myself not so much. I have a bad habit of holding onto things and that never ends well.
Last year I dated this guy. He wasn’t good for me and I made a lot of bad choices. Over the past year I have done everything in my power to become the person I was made to be. There are only two things in my way.
1. I haven’t forgiven myself
2. I haven’t forgiven him.
This year I am living my best year yet, except for those two things. I thought that I would be fine since this guy moved but then COVID-19 happened. Now we work together almost everyday and I have to see him. I don’t know about anyone else but it is very hard to work with someone and be nice to them when you haven’t forgiven them. It’s even harder to forgive them when I haven’t forgiven myself. I still consider myself a bad person anytime I mess up or get something wrong. I hold myself to unreasonably high expectations and when I don’t meet my own standards I feel a great deal of guilt.
So this week God has been nudging me (AKA smacking me upside the head) to forgive not only him but myself too. So that is my challenge to everyone. If you are not forgiving someone for something that happened I ask that you consider it. Forgiveness is a way to get rid of a lot of anger and hate. It is very freeing. After you have done this you can really begin to live the life you love.
Phones, what the world calls communication devices, what I call consumption devices. They are great things to have if you need quick contact with someone. But they have become very hindering as well. I have noticed that phones consume everything and everyone in their path. Similar to tornadoes. They suck everything into their endless cloud of nothing. The same is with technology. If we aren’t watching the time we are on them, we often times become consumed.
Social media… one way that we lose track of who we really are. Sometimes we see others lives and we look at ours and think that their are better. They aren’t. My life is can not be compared to yours and yours can not be compared to your neighbors life. Everyone’s life is different and the more time we spend scrolling through social media and others lives the less we think of ourselves.
Not everything about phones is bad. I have found that in this uncertain time, I have been calling and texting my friends more than I did before. It’s the only way we can. But if I sit on my phone talking for hours it takes away the connection. It loses its meaning.
Screens seem to be a common go-to when people are bored. I have found that at work if I get bored I send a text to mom instead of just talking to my coworkers. I also watched a friend of mine pull out their phone while my grandma and I had a conversation about crocheting. Instead of talking with my grandma, my friend let themself be consumed by their phone.
So my reminder to you today, is that you just take a few minutes away from your phones or computers this week. Step outside. Walk the dog (or the cat because I guess that’s a thing), get in the garden, grab a book and just sit on a swing or blanket. Take your family with you. Eat a meal outside. Play a game. The list is endless. You may be surprised by what the outcome may be.
Sometimes we just have to do things we don’t want to do. That’s just a fact. It could be doing laundry, or homework for school, or ending a friendship. None of these things are ever fun. (at least I don’t think so.) There are many things that we probably don’t want to do. I have found they they are usually the things I NEED to do. God has a way of nudging me (although it sometimes feels like a smack across the head) when I choose not to do something I know I should do.
For a long time God was telling me to end a friendship with someone who really wasn’t that great for me. My friend made me be fake and if I wasn’t they weren’t my friend. I ignored God for YEARS! Each time he mentioned something I would feel more and more convicted. It’s the same for schoolwork. I know I should do my homework and there were a few times when I would rather sit on the couch and read a book with a hot cup of tea next to me. As a result my grades began to drop along with my GPA. Everything we choose not to do has a consequence. It could be conviction or a lower GPA or being naked the next day because you didn’t do laundry.
It’s not enough to just do it. We need to have a good attitude about it too. This, I have found, is MUCH easier said than done. There are days I go to work and I REALLY REALLY don’t want to, but I do it anyway. On the days when I go into work grouchy or reluctantly, they usually don’t go very well. Its usually stressful or frustrating. On the days when I go in telling myself it will be a good day it usually is.
So my advice to my fans (aka readers) it whatever you do, do it with a good attitude. It makes the day much better. Think of it as rainstorms. If you have a bad attitude it’s like a dark gloomy thunderstorm. BUT if you have a good day it is like those days when its sunny and warm and you can see a rainbow. If given the option you should always choose a good attitude.
Have you ever picked a dandelion and within a few days it dies? Well I was on a walk yesterday and I picked a flower from the side of the road. The person I was walking at me looked at me and said “You killed it!” However the flower isn’t the only thing I killed that day.
I killed something else yesterday. I killed my double life. I have found myself falling back into old habits and living one way while saying that I was living another. When I do this I lie and manipulate to get my way. It’s a terrible way to live. So I made a choice. I am going to stop hiding things and being afraid of what others will think, and live the one life I am given because God doesn’t make mistakes and if I am here, I am here because God has a great plan for my life. How am I supposed to fulfill God’s plan, if I am doing exactly what God tells us not to do.
So I decided to kill it.
I killed that double life and now I can live my life the way God wants me to, instead of letting fear dictate my life. The thing about a dandelion is that when you pull, it unless you get all the roots with it, it won’t die. It will just re-sprout back in place.
I encourage anyone who is holding onto something negative, kill it. Pull the roots up. Let go of it. Live the life God wants you to live.
As spring arrives so does transformation. Spring brings beauty and everyone loves beautiful things. But beauty isn’t always about what it looks like on the outside. Yes I know that is a cliche thing to say but it’s true. The beauty is often found in the transition from “ugly” to beautiful. Take winter and spring for example. Winter (when there is no snow) is brown and ugly because everything is dead, but as spring arrives we start to see plants bloom and animals come out (even pesky mosquitoes). I believe that the transformation is often the most beautiful part. I have had my own share of transformations as I am sure many of us have.
I was adopted at a young age. I am much older now and have lived with my family for 12+ years, but I am STILL transforming. Everyday I wake up and I face 100 fears. I constantly tell myself truths instead of lies to become the person I know I am meant to be. I fight to transform into a better version of myself. I find that it is all the times I have messed p and fallen down that make me beautiful. Another example of the beauty in transformation would be the seniors of 2020. Their school year has been cut short and many things take from them. While I feel sorry for them I choose to look at it this way. Students have more time now to work (if they have a job), pick up old (or new) hobbies, or simply spend time or reconnect with family.
There is so much beauty to be found in this world of “ugly” one must simply look for it. Or as Albus Dumbledore would say “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.” So I encourage everyone to start looking at things a little differently and “turn on the light”.
At some point in your life someone has probably told you everything is going to be okay. It could be a friend saying this after you failed a test or a pastor after you explain whatever was on your heart at the time. But I am sure that you have felt like its not okay. Well…. I am here to tell you that it is. I have experienced what it feels like to not be okay. It’s not a fun feeling. But sometimes you have to deal with the not fun stuff to get to the super fun stuff. Through this blog I will be sharing personal experiences in hopes that it gives you, as a reader, hope. I will be sharing my own stories of how many time I felt like things weren’t okay and the people I had to lean on to help me through it. My goal is to show you that there is always a light at the end of the dark tunnel and that it’s okay to lean on others for help when life feels out of control.
Or… If you feel like everything is better than okay right now I will also be sharing stories from the great stuff that has happened after the not fun stuff. I want you guys to know that it is also okay to feel joyful to be through that hard thing. I hope that through my writing I can spread a little light to the world.