Nonstop

•March 22, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I’m running sure; constantly going, and never getting a breath. But I’ve never thought I was going the wrong direction.

Until today.

I’m stuck in a very weird position of life right now. I am a full-time student, getting ready to graduate. I am an RA, but I also have a part-time, “real-world” job off campus. I have been accepted into grad school which I am starting in the fall, but I somehow have to find the motivation and focus to finish out the last 7 weeks of school. I’m not getting married soon, but it is in the making. Basically, what I’m saying with this is that I feel like I cannot figure out which timeline I’m on, and which one I should stay or focus on. Some days I feel like I just need to scream.

So instead of facing all of this, and attempting to sort it out, I want to crawl in a hole and hide. Maybe if I come out in ten years I’ll be where I want to be, and I can just skip everything in between, right?

Today I was feeling all of this very strongly, and I almost did take steps toward just staying in bed. I forced myself out of bed, however, and started going about my day. I couldn’t seem to get a grip on myself, and I just became more and more frustrated. Then a song came on my Spotify playlist by Casting Crowns…the first words are, “She is running, a hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction….”

It hit my like a ton of bricks, but as a whisper in my heart at the same time.

I’ve been running, struggling, and trying to keep up with Jesus. Nothing I am doing is bad; they are all good things, helping me into my future. But have I been going in the wrong direction?

As soon as my thoughts asked the question, my heart knew the answer.

I’ve been saying I trust the Lord, but that is a lot harder said than done. Life is about going, running, and being busy….but it is also just about being. Being in the presence of the Lord. Being who you are. Being at peace.

The Lord wants us to work and be productive for Him, but in the midst of that, we need to remember who we are, and who He is. Be still and secure in that He is holding us, even running with us.

This isn’t something super profound I’ve learned, and I didn’t have a great epiphany or something. It i just something I have felt the Lord convict and remind me of, that I wanted to share.

When you feel like you’re life is nonstop, and you’re running in so many different directions so quickly, just stop and ask yourself if maybe you’re running in the wrong direction. Maybe you need to slow down, say no to some things so that you can run straight into the Savior’s arms where you belong.

Psalm 91:4-He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

A New Story

•March 1, 2018 • Leave a Comment

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 (ESV)

I have been blown away by all the Lord has been teaching me these last few months. One of the biggest things is that I need to be more open in giving praise for how He is working in my life. So, here I am; I have to share or my heart will explode with God’s goodness to me.

This past winter so far has been crazy. The holiday months were not my friend, and I had to make a decision that was probably the hardest, most stressful decision of my life. During this time, and even now looking back, I know that it was the Lord who was calling me out into a season of blind obedience. Kinda like Abraham.

:BLIND OBEDIENCE:

{ It’s weird to me that throughout this whole process, the biblical character I have related with the most has been Abraham. I have been studying Genesis in one of my classes, as well as in my Bible study, so I have been learning a lot about the early characters in the Bible. In Genesis 12, God calls Abram away from his home to a place he doesn’t even know. If that is not blind obedience and faith, I don’t know what is! This is also the chapter where God first promises to bless future generations through Abraham. The next few chapters recording Abram’s journey display how he had no idea where God was taking him, or what He was doing in his life. All he knew was that he needed to obey God with this next step, and trust Him with the future (Genesis 15:6) }

I spent 3 months really just waiting to see what God would do. I really sought Him, and He revealed some things about myself that I had never known before. It kind of humbled me, and brought me to a new understanding of myself in relation to Him. I admit that this was a pretty restless time for me as well, as I just did not have any clue what was going to happen. Throughout everything, though, I had an immense peace. It wasn’t a peace that someday I’ll figure everything out, but more of a peace just in knowing the Prince of Peace has a plan for me; I just have to trust Him and follow Him.

Another big thing I discovered during this time is that I had been making my own plan and asking God to bless it. If you were to ask me if I was putting Christ first, I would have said yes; however, I was really just doing my own thing and asking God to get on the same page as me. God was calling me to get on His page, but telling me that it would be hard because I had built a house all by myself, and now that house needed to come down so He could build a new one. “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain…” (Psalm 127:1). Stripping everything away is so hard. I had my own way of doing things. I had my own idea of how to receive the promises God had given me-like Abraham.

:SURRENDERING GOOD FOR BEST:

{ God made a covenant with Abraham (so much significance in all that entails), and promised a multitude would come from Abraham’s offspring. There was one problem, Abraham’s wife couldn’t have kids and was already past the normal age of having children. So, Abraham decided to take on the responsibility of making God’s promise to him happen through Sarah’s maid. This would have been a perfectly acceptable thing to do in that time, and the offspring coming from the maid would still be eligible to fulfill God’s promise. In Genesis 17:18, God reiterates that it would be His plan, on His terms, and in His timing, not how Abraham thought it should be. God was not forgetting what He promised; He only had something better-the absolute best-and Abraham needed to wait to receive it. God showed Abraham that He fulfills His promises in miraculous ways we could never have imagined-and it’s always such a better story than we could have written. }

The last big thing I will share that I have learned is simply that God is faithful, so good, and blows us away when we trust and obey Him. I have clearly seen God leading me to surrender my life plans to Him so that He could further bless me with His amazing and exciting plan. Even though it was so painful for me to follow the Lord when He asked me to give up what I knew and loved so much, I am so thankful I did. I learned so much through obeying Him, and He definitely blessed me way more than I deserved. He satisfied me with Himself first, and then met my desires in bigger ways than I imagined.

I am so excited for the new story God is writing with my life. It has been a painful, but beautiful journey, and I am positive that He will continue to work in me and lead me. I know that I needed to go through what I have in order to trust the Lord-no questions asked. I needed to realize that I should love without limits, and not be afraid to take the risk to fully love and be fully loved in return. Because I blindly followed the Lord, found my desires met in Him, and then trusted Him with my future, I know that the path I am walking now is where I am supposed to be. As long as I continually commit my story to Him, He will continue to write a new story with my life.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:4-5

 

 

 

Lead Your Heart

•January 20, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes we need to lead our hearts into praise of the Lord.

I started this post the week of Thanksgiving, so it has been in my draft box for a while. Honestly, I didn’t know how appropriate or relevant it would be anymore, so I was just going to forget about it. The concepts and lessons I am going to share will not leave my head or my heart, however, so I know that the Lord wants me to share them, even if it has been a while. So here it goes, from the beginning.

At my home church the week of Thanksgiving, one of the ladies in the worship band shared how she was learning that sometimes praise will come before anything else. We don’t always “feel it”; we’re not always “in it.” Sometimes, however, we need to lead our hearts into praise. Is it wrong to praise God if we don’t feel it? I don’t think so because God’s worthiness does not depend on how we feel about Him. He is always more than worthy of our praise, and will always receive it.

Jeremiah 17:9 says, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Something I have never been comfortable with is the saying “Follow your heart.” Now, it is cute and can be an encouragement, so I don’t mean to sound like I’m knocking it all together; however, I think we need to be careful in how much value and trust we put in this simple statement. When it comes to guiding our hearts in line with the will of the Lord, our hearts will fail us every time. Why is this? Because as Jeremiah states, our hearts are sick; sick with the disease of sin and brokenness.

Our hearts have been corrupted with the desires of this world, and we often get sucked into them without even realizing it. The curse of sin in our souls has left us eternally bent and running towards evil. God’s image, in which we were created, has been twisted in us, so that now we mask our longing for Him by pursuing everything else we can get our hands on. Ultimately, what we want and need is Him, but we trust our deceitful heart instead of the Maker of it.

This is why we cannot simply follow our hearts, and have all our desires met, our souls filled, and our spirits thrive. No, that’s not what the verse says. Earlier on in Jeremiah 17 it says:

Thus says the Lord:
Cursed is the man who trusts in man
    and makes flesh his strength,
    whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
    and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
    in an uninhabited salt land.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
    whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
    that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
    for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
    for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (ESV; bold and italics added)

I love the contrast in this verse because it explains this whole idea of trusting our hearts to the Lord perfectly. It strongly proclaims that those who trust in man are cursed; they are bound to end up thirsty, left alone in the desert. Conversely, those who entrust themselves to the Lord are blessed; they are not afraid, hungry, nor thirsty. They know that those who trust in the Lord lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10).

It is in this place of trusting the Lord, that we can still praise and bless the Lord, even when our hearts do not feel like it. If our faith was dependent upon feelings instead of faith, we would be more foolish than those without it. The truth is, though, our faith is built on trust; the trust that believes the truth that God is good even when it doesn’t feel like it. This is a special gift God gives those who seek and follow after Him.

“O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! O fear the Lord, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want.” Psalm 34:8-9

It is because of this truth we can lead our hearts into praise, why we should lead our hearts into worship. This is why after all the heartbreaks, losses, struggles, and chaos this world gives us, we can tell our hearts to beat again (link). 

This is why we cannot follow our hearts, nor trust its desires in the midst of brokenness, loneliness, and rejection. We must lead our hearts to the praise of God, allow Him to shape our desires, and then watch Him overwhelm us with delight and goodness as He fulfills those desires.

Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (NASB)

 

 

 

 

Saturday

•January 13, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Saturdays are kind of my favorite days recently. They hold so much potential; they can be productive, lazy or even life-giving.

My heart is lonely and hurting today, so I know this Saturday must hold healing and a warm cup of my white chocolate mocha with caramel (hair flip=I’m so basic, I know). Healing must always start from a place of knowing I am wanted. I am loved. I am even valued. The lack of these is what causes the heart to long and seek acceptance from all the wrong places. When I know I am loved, my heart won’t be searching for the shallow and broken love this world boasts of.

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will (renew) you in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NASB)

To say the Lord is teaching me a lot would be an understatement. So much of what I already known is simply being brought to hold depth I cannot just pass along to you in a way you will fully understand. These are heart lessons; teaching sessions without words; life and joy being injected into the desert places of my heart. I have so much I could share, but the Lord is reminding me, one small thing at a time, in the right timing.

So, today I want to share a simple thought, a truth we so often forget or ignore. You are loved. I am loved. We are loved.

Once we believe and agree with this truth, we will know that we are valued, accepted, wanted, unforgettable, irreplaceable, included, treasured, pursued, celebrated, rejoiced, noticed, heard, seen, chosen. We were created in the image of the only perfect Father and Savior and Healer of all the brokenness in our world. We were made with a purpose so much bigger than ourselves. We are expected only to receive the blessings so freely given us from the Lord, and out of that fullness, we are encouraged to live.

All of this and more is what it means to be loved. We are His Be-lov-ed: dearly loved, precious, adored, much loved, cherished, treasured, prized, highly regarded, admired. (Dictionary)

Let this sink into the fibers of your being. This is your identity. This is your calling-simply to be.loved. Know and understand this truth so well that when you start to feel lonely, mistreated, left out, or weak you can remind yourself of it and be renewed in your purpose.

It is a simple truth, one we have been told for so long, but one we really have no comprehension of. What I have discovered, however, is that this is where the healing begins.

Homeless Heart

•January 9, 2018 • Leave a Comment

When your heart feels homeless,

Life seems meaningless.

If your heart feels out of place,

Your mind can’t help but space.

Something has changed; it’s not right

I can’t fix it; I can’t seem to find the light

Tossing my heart from one place to another,

I feel like a child who’s lost her mother.

I know there are promises for me,

And hope and joy if I would just bow the knee.

Something is keeping me away and holding me hostage;

It’s threatening me, not letting me pay the postage

To fly away to a new place,

Enter a new land and meet a new face.

What to do with a heart like this?

Hurt, but seeking healing,

Hopeless, but pursuing meaning.

It’s a long and complicated journey

The only way to survive is by His mercy.

No one can go it alone,

So I pick up the phone.

I find Him waiting on the other line

Willing to listen and hear something other than “I’m fine.”

His ears are open, and His heart is bent

Toward my shattered dreams and my heart well-spent.

His love is the only cure,

His grace divine, and His mercy pure.

So I finally give in and give up.

My heart I will give You to roam,

Forever filling me and giving me a home.

The goal in all of this mess,

Is to discover the meaning of being blessed,

To learn that truly living

Comes out of a place of filling,

And that hearts tired of looking

Can find their name with a booking

In the great hand of the Father

He is there above and before all other.

Here is where my heart is to rest,

If only I knew what is best.

 

Baca {Valley of Weeping}

•December 27, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring; the early rain also covers it with blessings.” Psalm 84:6 (NASB)

I haven’t found a verse that so perfectly describes my situation, while giving such truth and hope at the same time in a very long time. It’s so refreshing, and I want to share it with you.

The NLT actually gives a more literal translation of this verse which gets right to the point and is easier to understand:

“When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.”

The term Baca was used to refer to a valley of probably scrub-like bushes which had thorns and thistles. It is interesting to note that the valley received its name because of these balsam scrubs, known in Israel to provide the sap from which medicine was made.  This was a valley on the common route to Jerusalem-the place of worship. Commentators say that it was almost impossible to pass through this valley without incurring pain and tears from these scrubs due to the thorns; however, people would go through in order to collect the precious, healing sap (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers-Psalm 84:6).

This is such an amazing dichotomous concept of hurt and healing; weeping and blessing. The very place which caused pain, and was extraordinarily difficult to pass through was the same place healing was found. Those who knew this about the valley passed through with hope and perseverance because they were confident of the blessings which would come out of it later. I wish I could scream my excitement about how applicable this perplexity is to us!!!

A thought that first crossed my mind when I read this was that pain and difficult times will come, but it is up to us what we do with it; what we make come out of it.

“…they make it a spring…” The righteous know that the sorrow and weeping only endure for a night, but that joy comes in the morning with healing on its wings (Psalm 30:5; Malachi 4:2).

It is hard to look past the pain and hurt of present difficulties to see that they will bring good and blessings to our lives. This is exactly what this verse encourages us to do. It invites us to lean into our hurt, and realize the healing which will come out of it; healing that never would have taken place without the hurt. Healing then becomes a refreshing spring to our lives because we have learned to have faith and trust in the Lord.

The valley of pain then becomes the place we find healing. Baca becomes blessings. Sorrow turns into joy.

We can sit and loathe in our terrible situations and circumstances, and beg God for joy and healing. We can question Him and doubt His promises, but we won’t receive His blessings only discovered through hurt and suffering.

The only response I know of that will please God is one of courage, obedience, and ultimately, faith that God is good and He will lead us into the land where His promises to us are fulfilled. This is the only way we will find the healing our hearts so desperately long for; the only way our hungry souls will be filled; the only way we will become more like Christ.

Walking Wounded

•December 18, 2017 • Leave a Comment

They don’t tell you a lot of things, but I suppose it’s different for everyone. Still, we are all walking wounded.

It’s sometimes too easy just to be fake instead of letting people in. Especially when you’ve experienced hurt they might not be able to understand. It takes vulnerability, and that’s scary.

Somehow it brings out all the hurts and losses I have ever walked through. When the tears come, they’re proof of the grief from many scars not completely healed.

At first, my hurt was masked, but now it’s out in the raw.

Instead of allowing grief’s process to run its course, I slapped a band aid on.

I fooled myself into thinking all was well; that my heart was free and my mind was clear.

Until I couldn’t deceive myself anymore, and now all I see is fog,

All I feel is emptiness, and a great hole in my soul I’m seeking to fill, but everything is so fake.

It would have been better to deal with the pain right away instead of this.

I tried covering it up, but that only resulted in me ripping open the scar which started to form.

Now my heart bleeds uncontrollably in all situations and circumstances, no matter the day.

I walk around with a false peace, hope, and joy, when all I feel is loneliness.

No one could tell by looking that I am maimed;

The walking wounded-the open hurt-the fearful heart.

I am surrounded by a fog that just won’t lift even though I turn all directions,

I am drowning in a stormy sea even though I reach up for air,

I am falling slowly from the height of the mountain even though I was standing strong.

Happiness is a stranger to me; I don’t know the last time we actually met.

The only hope I have is the joy I know I possess even if I can’t feel it;

It’s deep inside my soul, trusting that it will have a place in the sun again.

Oh, when that day comes; when the morning dawns,

I will greet it with open arms

I will run to meet it

I will give my all and never look back

Until then, I’ll keep hoping.

I’ll trust and run to the Healer.

There is no other place for me.

I will rest in the shadow of His wings.

 

// If you read this, I want you to know that it is very open and vulnerable for me. I want to be real, and portray all seasons of life; not just ones of immense faith and grand lessons from the Lord. I am currently in a foggy season, and I’d appreciate prayers. I know in my heart that the Lord will bring me through because He always has, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still struggling. So hopefully, some can relate to my thoughts and feelings. They are straight from my flow of consciousness and unedited.//