A letter to my 26yr old self

Dear Rachel,

Its August 16, 2016. I know you’re in a lot of pain right now; I know that you’re really confused, because things were hard but all of a sudden you felt hope, and felt led to go to Savannah, only to be in a hit and run. I know that you’re angry at God, feeling like he sent you there for that reason, and I can tell you that God doesn’t hit people with cars, but you’ll probably just roll your eyes. I know you think that things are only going to get worse, that there’s not hope for a good future, and I know you're so upset that you're alone in the hospital, that the sleeping meds aren't working, and you're wide awake surrounded by curtains, wondering why this happened. Things are hard, don’t you deserve a break?

But there are a lot of things you don’t know.

You don’t know that while you’re laying in the hospital bed, you’re going to experience the beautiful peace and comfort of Spirit in ways you’ve never experienced before. You’re going to meet a stranger named Paul who’s going to speak words into your soul that you’ll never forget. You don’t know that when your mom drives you home, you’re going to miraculously sleep the whole eight hour car ride, feeling no pain.

You don’t know that it’s such a good thing that you’re not able to go to Onsite in September, because you’re going to meet the most beautiful people at the program in November, people you wouldn’t have known if you went as planned.

You don’t know that as you sit in the recliner watching Bob Ross, you’re going to start to create art with new mediums. In fact, you’re going to create so much that you’re going to have enough to do your first popup shop, broken leg and all. You don’t know that at your first popup, you’re going to meet a grown man who cries while hearing your story, who hugs you and says, “I’m so so happy you’re alive”.

You don’t know that as you are stuck in the living room, relying on your family to help you, you're going to go deep into relationship with them, enjoying their company and making up for years not living at home.

You don’t know that as you’re recovering from your accident, you’re going to begin to love your body and appreciate her more than ever before. Instead of a burden and a place of shame, you’re going to be excited about being able to sit criss cross again, putting on your own socks, re-learning to drive, and even learning to walk again. You’re going to start treating your body like a beloved relative.

You don’t know that in October your orthopedist is going to clear you to drive the week before your friend’s wedding, and you’re going to be able to hug all your Alabama family, seeing them for the first time in months.

You don’t know that after the wedding, you’re going to visit the Millers, and the Gillespie's will be there too, and you’re going to spend almost three weeks with your favorite people, doing things your heart dreams of doing, helping with art projects for the retreat, chasing fall up the mountain, drinking beer around the fire and painting on chilly mornings. You don’t know that you’re going to be able to experiment with different art forms, things you’ll repeat when you get home to sell at your markets. 

You don’t know that by changing the dates to go to Onsite, you’ll be able to go to the Gillespie’s house show in Alabama, trick or treat with the Millers, and go to the first two days of their retreat. Onsite is going to be amazing, you’re going to love your group and the therapist you were assigned. 

You don’t know that when you get home, you’re going to do a show at the West Palm Beach green market. You aren't going to sell anything, and will come home discouraged, calling Jimmie to say that you’re quitting, that being an artist doesn’t work. He’s going to tell you to try again, and in doing so, you actually do well enough to support yourself all winter.

You don’t know that doing the markets will really help you get out of your shell. You were always afraid to talk to new people, but as you do this, it gets easier and you actually begin to love it.

You don’t know that by posting a photo of your plant hangers to Instagram, you’re going to be asked to rent a space in an up and coming shop in West Palm Beach. You’re going to meet the girls and really connect with them, and even end up working for them. This place is going to inspire you and stretch you in amazing ways.

You don’t know that you’re going to be asked to edit a book by a successful author, and even though you’ve never done this before, you’re going to say yes. I’m so proud of you for saying yes.

You don’t know that you’re going to be invited to a dinner party for creative women in South Florida. You’re going to be really nervous, but you’re going to face your fears and have a great time, overcoming your wallflower-like tendencies, and laugh and tell stories.

You don’t know that you’re going to be able to go to the mountains and Alabama in March, visiting all your favorite people, playing in snow and sitting by fires, feeding your spirit and laughing uncontrollably. 

You don’t know that you’re going to begin to teach workshops. And not just one workshop, but five workshops in less that two months. You’re going to be so nervous, but then love it. I'm proud of your for pushing through the fear.

You don’t know that you’re going to be asked to be part of a styled wedding shoot, You’re going to go set up your pieces and then see photos of them by professional photographers all over West Palm Beach. 

You don’t know that your therapist is going to recommend that you start going to support groups at the Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, and next thing you know, you're going to have a treatment team. You will get help for problems you’ve had for years. You’re going to make so many friends there, and despite your tendency to hide, you’re going to fill your spare time with healing and laughing.

You don’t know that you’re going to start selling wholesale, and by the end of summer, you’re going to have products in six stores in the U.S.

You don’t know that your mom is going to buy you plane tickets for your birthday, letting you visit the Millers as bookends to this beautiful year.

Yes, I said beautiful. I know you don’t believe me, but this year is going to be one of the best. Your tree limbs are going to grow, and so much gold is going to be built into you. Be patient. It’s coming. Start saying yes now and wait for the adventures.

Love your future self,

Rachel

 



August 16th is the one year anniversary of my bike accident (you can read that story here), and this year has been both hard and sweet, lost and found, adventure and rest. I decided to mark the days and months, with little tributes on my instagram, using the hashtag, #greatbikewreck2016, and I would love to share them here, as a complete set. 

August 16, 2016

Tuesday night I was in a hit and run by a Ford F-150 while riding a bike in Savannah, Ga. I broke my leg in two spots, had surgery, and am already up walking with crutches and should be discharged tomorrow! I'm so thankful it wasn't worse and Holy Spirit was such a comfort these past few days. My spirit has been experiencing such peace despite physical pain. Please pray for the pain to quiet down, and for papa to do a quick healing so I can drive 😉 xxx (apparently when I was admitted and put on annethesia, I spent about twenty minutes begging for coffee.

Tuesday night I was in a hit and run by a Ford F-150 while riding a bike in Savannah, Ga. I broke my leg in two spots, had surgery, and am already up walking with crutches and should be discharged tomorrow! I'm so thankful it wasn't worse and Holy Spirit was such a comfort these past few days. My spirit has been experiencing such peace despite physical pain. Please pray for the pain to quiet down, and for papa to do a quick healing so I can drive 😉 xxx (apparently when I was admitted and put on annethesia, I spent about twenty minutes begging for coffee.

 

September 16, 2016

Jesus is sweet. Today is the one month anniversary of the accident and I spent it sharing my art with people. I told my story a few times, and one guy got all teary eyed, gave me a hug and said, I'm so so happy you're alive. // I feel the same way, buddy  #greatbikewreck2016

Jesus is sweet. Today is the one month anniversary of the accident and I spent it sharing my art with people. I told my story a few times, and one guy got all teary eyed, gave me a hug and said, I'm so so happy you're alive. // I feel the same way, buddy #greatbikewreck2016

 

October 16, 2016

Looked at the date and realized it's been exactly two months since my bike accident, where I was in a hit and run. A few days ago, I asked a friend this: what if I celebrated the 16th of every month for the rest of my life? Celebrated the kindness of Jesus and the richness of relationships? It feels like I've changed so much these past few months, Holy Spirit is such a comfort. The other night I had a friend tell me, "I don't know why it happened. But I know you're loved. And even if you end up sharing this testimony and changing lives, ultimately, Jesus doesn't want to just use you. He wants to love you." // man I've felt so loved by Papa. I have lists of his thoughtfulness, his love through this. ((Also, Its fun that I'm here with the Millers today; trips to see them have been the bookends to this little crazy adventure.))

Looked at the date and realized it's been exactly two months since my bike accident, where I was in a hit and run. A few days ago, I asked a friend this: what if I celebrated the 16th of every month for the rest of my life? Celebrated the kindness of Jesus and the richness of relationships? It feels like I've changed so much these past few months, Holy Spirit is such a comfort. The other night I had a friend tell me, "I don't know why it happened. But I know you're loved. And even if you end up sharing this testimony and changing lives, ultimately, Jesus doesn't want to just use you. He wants to love you." // man I've felt so loved by Papa. I have lists of his thoughtfulness, his love through this. ((Also, Its fun that I'm here with the Millers today; trips to see them have been the bookends to this little crazy adventure.))

 

November 16, 2017

Today is three months. Month number three has been the hardest, and im not afraid to say that I've been angry 99.9% of it. But yesterday I was looking through my journal and read something I don't even remember writing 🙈 it said: "Jody said that you're big enough to handle my anger. And I feel like at the other side of this anger is a trust and tenderness that is sweet and sacred. So im excited to get to the other side. Hopefully it's soon." 

Today is three months. Month number three has been the hardest, and im not afraid to say that I've been angry 99.9% of it. But yesterday I was looking through my journal and read something I don't even remember writing 🙈 it said: "Jody said that you're big enough to handle my anger. And I feel like at the other side of this anger is a trust and tenderness that is sweet and sacred. So im excited to get to the other side. Hopefully it's soon." 

 

December 16, 2016

Four months today. Not sure what to say, I've found myself quiet lately. I'm working again, both subbing and selling my art, and if you asked me a year ago if this is what my life would look like I would probably laugh. Oh it's an adventure. And often sucks. But I have so much to be thankful for, and as I've been setting myself up to heal and discover deep things I've been getting quieter. Just a lot of thoughts and a lot of breathing in and out thanks to a Father who is full of mystery and good things. And I don't understand one bit of it. And I'm beginning to be ok with that

Four months today. Not sure what to say, I've found myself quiet lately. I'm working again, both subbing and selling my art, and if you asked me a year ago if this is what my life would look like I would probably laugh. Oh it's an adventure. And often sucks. But I have so much to be thankful for, and as I've been setting myself up to heal and discover deep things I've been getting quieter. Just a lot of thoughts and a lot of breathing in and out thanks to a Father who is full of mystery and good things. And I don't understand one bit of it. And I'm beginning to be ok with that

 

January 16, 2017

Night time work views 😍😍 it's been five month since my accident and grace is telling me that there are good things ahead

Night time work views 😍😍 it's been five month since my accident and grace is telling me that there are good things ahead

 

February 16, 2017

Today is 6 months. Maybe it is too much that I'm noticing all the days, but I've always noticed the days, just right now there's bigger things to notice. // i spent the evening eating with  @sauceosofsky  and a bunch of other awesome girls, and I'm kinda mind blown that this is where God has me now. A year ago, I honestly would have never thought I'd be living in south Florida again. And a month ago I would have never thought I'd be brave enough to go hang out with a bunch of strangers. But I did. And while it's still sad to be living here, there are lots of hints of grace and tonight was more than a hint, it was a victory cry.

Today is 6 months. Maybe it is too much that I'm noticing all the days, but I've always noticed the days, just right now there's bigger things to notice. // i spent the evening eating with @sauceosofsky and a bunch of other awesome girls, and I'm kinda mind blown that this is where God has me now. A year ago, I honestly would have never thought I'd be living in south Florida again. And a month ago I would have never thought I'd be brave enough to go hang out with a bunch of strangers. But I did. And while it's still sad to be living here, there are lots of hints of grace and tonight was more than a hint, it was a victory cry.

 

March 16, 2017

I just realized it was March 16th with eight minutes to spare. Today is seven months since the bike accident, and I got to spend it with my  @legacysod  family. It was so sweet and full and let me tell you something I've learned-just because you aren't with someone in person doesn't mean that they don't love you. Family extends past physical borders and miles and while hugs are better, texts and phones calls are cool too. We are so loved and safe and cared for, from pockets of beautiful people all over. And this past months I was able to visit family all over the southeast, dragging my hurt leg around. And it was more then ok. It was beautiful and healing. I tried to memorize all the hugs because I want to be able to remember how full I am. This year I've learned that relationships are the biggest treasure.

I just realized it was March 16th with eight minutes to spare. Today is seven months since the bike accident, and I got to spend it with my @legacysod family. It was so sweet and full and let me tell you something I've learned-just because you aren't with someone in person doesn't mean that they don't love you. Family extends past physical borders and miles and while hugs are better, texts and phones calls are cool too. We are so loved and safe and cared for, from pockets of beautiful people all over. And this past months I was able to visit family all over the southeast, dragging my hurt leg around. And it was more then ok. It was beautiful and healing. I tried to memorize all the hugs because I want to be able to remember how full I am. This year I've learned that relationships are the biggest treasure.

 

April 16, 2017

One of the most impactful moments when I watched The Shack in theaters last month was a specific conversation between Mack and Papa. Mack asks Papa why he brought him back to the place of his deepest pain, angry that he had to face it all over again. Papa patiently replies that Mack was brought back to the shack because it was the place that he got "stuck", and it order heal he had to go back and face the root of the pain, and get "unstuck". I think one of the reasons circumstances brought me home last summer was to face the place where I got stuck. Glory to glory, freedom to freedom. Lots of hope. Also I missed April 16, but that was 8 months since the  #greatbikewreck2016 . Life is weird and stressful and unpredictable but God is so good. I am so loved.

One of the most impactful moments when I watched The Shack in theaters last month was a specific conversation between Mack and Papa. Mack asks Papa why he brought him back to the place of his deepest pain, angry that he had to face it all over again. Papa patiently replies that Mack was brought back to the shack because it was the place that he got "stuck", and it order heal he had to go back and face the root of the pain, and get "unstuck". I think one of the reasons circumstances brought me home last summer was to face the place where I got stuck. Glory to glory, freedom to freedom. Lots of hope. Also I missed April 16, but that was 8 months since the #greatbikewreck2016. Life is weird and stressful and unpredictable but God is so good. I am so loved.

 

May 16, 2017

9 months since the  #greatbikewreck2016  // long enough to have had a baby. And I know that good things are being birthed out of this mess.

9 months since the #greatbikewreck2016 // long enough to have had a baby. And I know that good things are being birthed out of this mess.

 

June 16, 2017

Today marks 10 months since the accident. // this year I always thought that I didn't have an adventurous life because I wasn't climbing mountains or living with people or doing things that kind of had a "shock factor" when it came to conventionality. But in reality, my life is still adventurous. I've had amazing opportunities this year. From editing books to meeting the best people to helping with retreats and taking road trips and finding wholeness and starting up a business, I've been busy saying yes.  I've also been feeling hopeful lately. Just a little bit of hope, but it's more than before. Jesus really does have me. I really am safe. And he's not mad that I still have a hard time trusting. Because every time I'm faced with a choice, I trust a little bit more. And that's all he wants

Today marks 10 months since the accident. // this year I always thought that I didn't have an adventurous life because I wasn't climbing mountains or living with people or doing things that kind of had a "shock factor" when it came to conventionality. But in reality, my life is still adventurous. I've had amazing opportunities this year. From editing books to meeting the best people to helping with retreats and taking road trips and finding wholeness and starting up a business, I've been busy saying yes. 
I've also been feeling hopeful lately. Just a little bit of hope, but it's more than before. Jesus really does have me. I really am safe. And he's not mad that I still have a hard time trusting. Because every time I'm faced with a choice, I trust a little bit more. And that's all he wants

 

July 16, 2017

I have a story to encourage your beautiful spirits: money is so freakin stressful for me. Life is soooo unpredictable. But I know that I know that I know that this is what Jesus wants me to be doing right now. The conviction is down deep, to the depths of my heart which matches the depths of his heart. So summer has been really slow. Markets are closed because it's hot, college students are home for summer break, and the store I work at has been undergoing construction. And every week I have to spend a set amount of money on things that further my journey toward wholeness that I started last summer. Something I know Jesus wants for me, even more than I want it for myself. And everytime The due date comes, I freak out. What if I don't sell anything. What if I'll have to cancel all my appointments. What if my bills end up going to collection. But EVERY SINGLE TIME Jesus comes through. And it's ALWAYS last minute. Friday I was stressing so badly, where it was actual crippling anxiety. I prayed despite the anxiety. I told Jesus that I trusted him, and he's faithful not matter what. I decided not to cancel my appointments for next week, because I trusted that it would work out. Well, in the past 48 hours, I sold a large hanging, three necklaces, and had two wholesale orders placed. And it's enough for this week. And I know Jesus will provide for next week too. Trust and saying yes doesn't feel comfortable, but I know that I'm actually truly safe. And you're safe too. //oh and it's been eleven months since the  #greatbikewreck2016

I have a story to encourage your beautiful spirits: money is so freakin stressful for me. Life is soooo unpredictable. But I know that I know that I know that this is what Jesus wants me to be doing right now. The conviction is down deep, to the depths of my heart which matches the depths of his heart.
So summer has been really slow. Markets are closed because it's hot, college students are home for summer break, and the store I work at has been undergoing construction. And every week I have to spend a set amount of money on things that further my journey toward wholeness that I started last summer. Something I know Jesus wants for me, even more than I want it for myself. And everytime The due date comes, I freak out. What if I don't sell anything. What if I'll have to cancel all my appointments. What if my bills end up going to collection. But EVERY SINGLE TIME Jesus comes through. And it's ALWAYS last minute.
Friday I was stressing so badly, where it was actual crippling anxiety. I prayed despite the anxiety. I told Jesus that I trusted him, and he's faithful not matter what. I decided not to cancel my appointments for next week, because I trusted that it would work out. Well, in the past 48 hours, I sold a large hanging, three necklaces, and had two wholesale orders placed. And it's enough for this week. And I know Jesus will provide for next week too.
Trust and saying yes doesn't feel comfortable, but I know that I'm actually truly safe.
And you're safe too. //oh and it's been eleven months since the #greatbikewreck2016

 

August 16, 2017

One year. One beautiful year. If you told me last year, while I was in the trauma unit, that this year would have turned out to be so magical and the biggest adventure I've ever had, I wouldn't have believed you. But things only get better. I wrote a little letter to myself about this past year, and I put the link in my bio ❤️ "The way of [those in right relationship] is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day." Prov 4:18

One year. One beautiful year. If you told me last year, while I was in the trauma unit, that this year would have turned out to be so magical and the biggest adventure I've ever had, I wouldn't have believed you. But things only get better. I wrote a little letter to myself about this past year, and I put the link in my bio ❤️ "The way of [those in right relationship] is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day." Prov 4:18