Sunday, December 23, 2012

What a Dog Can Teach You


So, after a crazy and difficult semester that probably almost killed me, I finally have time to think clearly and post on my blog again!

This is simple, but rather interesting I suppose. Since I’ve been home, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my dog, Millie. Many of you have met her, and I’m sure all of you have heard me talk about her before. That’s because she’s the most hilarious dog on the planet. Every time I come home from college, she is always able to brighten my mood if I’m having a terrible day.

My mother would probably disagree though- she would call Millie the dog from hell, or even possibly a reincarnate of Satan. And honestly, I would agree with her. Millie has a pretty bold personality, and she gets very angry and defensive about many things. The two most specific things she gets angry about are being put in her cage, and food.

Whenever you put Millie to bed, never say the word cage, because if you do and then try to pick her up with two hands, you might end up missing a finger. And never, ever leave food unattended around her, especially chocolate and meat. Just the other night, my sister Katie was putting together goodie bags in light of the holiday season for her friends at school. She had candy canes and miniature Reese’s cups with her, and Millie was in the room. I was actually surprised because although it was clear that Millie wanted the candy, she sat patiently on the floor and watched my sister put the goodie bags together.

However, near the end of that time, her patience ran out, and Millie decided that she was going to get some candy herself if she was going to have to wait this long (we weren’t even going to give her any in the first place). So, by willpower and her sharp teeth, she was able to grab some chocolate. Katie and I tried to get the chocolate out of her mouth, but it was literally impossible because she was growling, biting, and being dangerously defensive. The debacle ended with Millie laying on her back and growling at us while she downed the entire miniature Reese’s cup, aluminum foil and all.

That was actually the most defensive I’d ever seen her. Never in my life have I been lunged at and charged at in that capacity. She packs a large and terrifying punch for such a small dog. However, sometimes I wonder if that kind of behavior isn’t her fault. I’m pretty sure some of it comes from her nature, because wiener dogs are just like that, but I’ve been thinking recently that some of her behavior has stemmed from how we’ve treated her and trained her since she was little.

When we first got Millie, I was a Sophomore in high school. All three of us (plus my dad) were really excited, but my mom had told us that we had to take care of and train the dog ourselves. And we agreed, because we wanted that dog so badly. She was so adorable! The only problem was that, although the four of us had agreed to that, we definitely did not hold up our end of the deal.

Millie as a puppy!


My mom had agreed to purchase the dog because she thought it might motivate my dad to get up in the mornings, as our other wiener dog, Villie, had done. We all knew he wasn’t feeling good, so this was my mom’s way of maybe trying to get him out of that. However, that didn’t end up working out so well. And my brother, sister and I? We were all teenagers, really too selfish and consumed in our own lives to take that much effort to care for her.

We never took her on enough walks, or trained her fully to go to the bathroom outside. By now, she knows that she’s supposed to do that, but the habit of going to the bathroom inside still has not been broken. I definitely know that now, she never goes on a walk and is only let outside in the backyard. The only problem is that she’s still a puppy; she’s only four years old, and she still needs that.

With everyone gone most of the time, she is usually alone, and I just realized, after being at home with her for this past week, that she just wants someone to spend time with. She just wants the attention and love that we should have been giving her the whole time she’s been with us. And that vicious behavior she sometimes exhibits? I can’t help but think that some of that stems from how we’ve treated her over the years- with neglect and selfishness.

I remember when she was little and we would play with her. She would bite at us, and we thought it was funny, so we encouraged it. Now, playing with her can be dangerous because her bite is much stronger. She doesn’t know that such behavior is not acceptable.

Millie being evil

And even though she is disobedient and vicious at times, she still needs to be loved. Taken on walks, played with, given more attention. For Christmas, I decided to make her a blanket because all of the towels she’s given are chewed up. My sister asked me why in the world I was going to make her a blanket if she was going to eventually destroy it.

And I’ve finally learned that even if she’s going to do that, I still need to make her the blanket and show her that I care about her. My brother and sister and I have conditioned her to behave that way, so we’re pretty much paying the price for it.

And this, in a strange but completely understandable way, reminded me of how Jesus loves us. Every day, He loves us, no matter what we do which is extremely difficult to understand for a lot of people, including me. So much is said about His steadfast love in the Psalms. Psalm 36:5 says, “Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.”

I can’t explain his love, and so much is written about it that your attention would veer if I put every verse I knew about the love of Christ in this post.  I don’t even understand it. And sometimes I can’t even see it or feel it, but I know it’s still there. His love works in ways that we can’t understand.

Isaiah 55:6-7 says, “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”

No matter what we do, he will always forgive us and love us unconditionally. And such was taught to me through my dog. In the middle of my dog peeing on the carpet or chewing up the blanket I just made her, I need to say, I still love you. For all the damage that’s been done to her emotionally in her short doggie life because of how she’s been treated and trained, I need to understand that her actions reflect that.

And I’m not saying that God has damaged us like that. I’m saying that over time, we’ve damaged each other like that. In our childhoods, through tragic events in our lives, in our relationships, we’ve all been damaged emotionally. And God will work with us and love us every day for the mess that is our lives to grow towards an understanding of who he really is in the midst of all the damage.



Isaiah 55:1-3- “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.”

Monday, September 10, 2012

It's Been Awhile


Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve last posted on here.  I really don’t have a point in this, just talking about what’s happened in the past month or so. As I write, I guess we’ll see if any themes come up.

Since I last posted on July 21st, a crap ton of things have happened. First, Leadership Training ended, which was sort of an emotional train wreck (AKA involved lots of crying). On August 4th, 4 other friends and I made the 24-hour drive back to Ohio, which was definitely a test of perseverance. Upon arriving back in Ohio, I was able to go home for less than 24 hours like I mentioned before, which was still a blessing despite how short it was.

On August 6th, I moved into my room on campus and started RA training the day after, which lasted 2 weeks. Then we had our fall move-in, classes began, and the campus church I attend, h2o church, kicked off the fall semester with a lot of different events.

To say the least, it was a whirlwind of insanity, and the only reason I’m able to sit down and write this blog post is because it’s finally calmed down (after 3 weeks!). The quick transition into RA training was very difficult, partly because I was grieving the end of LT and the end of last year, which I hadn’t had time to grieve fully when it happened back in May, and partly because of the drastic environment change. The lifestyle I was living changed completely in a matter of days. I went from working 40 hours a week and doing ministry all the time to sitting in a classroom all day and learning about how to do RA things, which I had already learned the previous year.

As my residents moved in, classes began, and the kickoff of my church happened, things got a little more overwhelming. But by this point, I had become more accustomed to the environment change. What really began to overwhelm me was the mass of people I would be encountering and building relationships with this semester.

I kid you not, I sat down and listed all the groups of people and individuals I would be relating with this semester. I have my life group, which is a bible study of 15-25 people through my church. I also have my residents (about 22 people) and my RA staff (33 people). Then I have my many friends from h2o, people in classes, my 1:12 partner through the well (a mentor-mentee relationship), and a few other certain relationships that I feel will be very important to pour into this semester.

This was so incredibly overwhelming to me. Since the first few weeks of school have passed, I have been able to finally be alright with all of this, but at the beginning of the semester, it was particularly insane because I was having to learn new names everywhere I went, and it was hard to retain all the names (plus, I’m a visual learner, so that doesn’t make it any easier).

Near the end of LT, one of my good friends, Kim Shearer, told me that she felt that this upcoming semester was going to be relationally challenging, that we would all be challenged to build relationships that would stretch us in may ways, and she was absolutely right. Much of the stretch comes from the magnitude of relationships I’ve had to build, but much of it has also come from God speaking to me through these relationships.

If I haven’t mentioned this before, I believe that God majorly communicates to me through people, and he’s definitely been teaching me a great deal about myself through the relationships I’ve been building. He’s also greatly encouraged and convicted me through these people in my life.

In general, I’ve been feeling majorly convicted lately. For instance, a few weeks ago, I was talking to my friend on a Saturday afternoon, and he mentioned that he was doing homework. Not only was he doing homework, but he was actually finishing assignments. After that had been mentioned, I felt greatly convicted about not getting my homework done that day, so instead of hanging out with friends that night, I decided to go back to my room and finish my homework.

Ever since then, I have had much more motivation to actually get my homework done on Saturday, partly so I won’t have homework to do on Sunday (I’m trying to make Sunday a Sabbath day). This has also helped me to not procrastinate on assignments and to start them early instead.

There are many other specific examples I remember, but in general, I’ve been feeling so convicted. In times where I try to be perfect, God has been showing me how far from perfect I really am. My eyes are continuously being opened to how imperfect I am, how much control I try to have but don’t have, and how selfish I really am.

Another thing that God has been teaching me is that people are important. They are important because they are His children (Genesis 1:27), and he loves them so infinitely. If I want to show the love of Christ in my daily actions, I need to love everyone in the most sacrificial way I can. I will be honest, the way I sometimes treat people in my mind is completely evil and disgusting. How can I be so cruel?

Because of this, I have recently been struck by this verse, which I came across a few days ago while I was reading.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in
your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”- Psalm 19:14

Right now, that is truly my prayer. I want nothing more than for this to be true in my life, especially in my heart. So, I guess you could say that’s where I’m at right now. I’ve been stricken by my own conviction, but I have hope that the Lord is somehow going to redeem my life, and some hope that he will use my life to encourage people and lead people to Him. 

Let my life be a light for others, so that they may know the Love of the Lord.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Letting Go

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted on my blog. Since the beginning of July, things have gotten crazy around here. I feel like it’s partly God working intensely in my life, and me trying to do everything I want to do here before I leave.

And now, it’s almost the end of my time in Colorado. It’s crazy to think about how quickly time has gone by. Two weeks from tomorrow, I’ll be headed back to Ohio to move in for the beginning of RA training- and it looks like I’ll be able to have one night at home between returning from Colorado and going back to school, which is such a blessing!

Because it’s nearing the end of the summer, people have been asking me about what I’ve learned and how I’ve changed. A few days, I was asked what the title of this chapter of my life would be, and today at work, a friend asked me if I thought I had changed this summer.

Both of these questions caught me without an answer and sort of pushed me into a time of reflection, and I’m assuming these questions were brought up because God wants me to start thinking about these things. What would the title of this chapter of my life be? And have I really changed that drastically?

I sure do hope so. That’s how I want it to be- I want to return to school and have the people in my life notice the life change. I’ve thought about this question, and I would say yes, I have changed.

Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out how, but I would say that I entered the summer as a perfectionist and a control freak. I already knew about my problem with perfectionism. I remember being upset for not being perfect when I was little, and my mom telling me that nobody can ever be perfect. That was the first time I’d ever heard that (thanks mom!).

But me, a control freak? I thought I wasn’t, but God quickly showed me that I was. I came into this summer having a set plan of what I wanted to learn- I wanted to learn how to fight against the spiritual forces of darkness, I wanted to learn how to love better, and after it was all over, I wanted the fall semester to be perfect. I soon realized that I wanted everything to be perfect.

Soon after I realized I was trying to control everything, I had a mental breakdown. And then a couple weeks later, I had a more intense mental breakdown, to the point where I would have rather not been in Colorado or even alive for that matter. At that point in the beginning of July, I had become so crippled with fear of not being able to control things, like the end of the world, future relationships, and future ministry.

During the time I was going through that, I was given some great advice that really helped me through- we need to focus on God’s truths now, and not worry about the future or the outcome of anything. So, what do we know now?

That God loves us (John 3:16) and works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28), We can trust Him (Proverbs 3:5-6), and He will fight for us (Psalm 20:11-13). There are so many other truths I could list here. One of the truths that really brings me peace is that the Lord knows more about us than we know about ourselves, and that he knows what’s going to happen before we do.

It talks about this in Proverbs 16, verse 9, which says, “The heart of man plans his way but the LORD establishes his steps.” So, I am reminded that no matter what I try to plan and control, I still don’t know what will happen, and many of my plans will probably be uprooted.

But the best part about it is that despite how many of our plans God crashes to the ground, his plan is always going to be better, because he knows us best and knows what’s best for us.

So, even if the world ends tomorrow, it is the best plan. Even if I never get married, it is the best plan. And so, as I near the end of the summer, I would say the title of this chapter would be “Letting Go.”

It’s not a very exciting title, but it does justice to what the general theme of this summer has been. God has been teaching me to let go of control, and to let him handle everything. All I have to do is put my roots in his truths right now, and be faithful to him in the present. How things will end up is not a thing to be concerned about, because God has it all under control.

So, I’m really hoping I can keep this mindset when I go back to school. Honestly, I hope I can keep growing in everything I’ve learned. Also, one of the things I really hope for is that people notice a change in me from when they last saw me- I feel like many times in life, the people that know us notice things about ourselves that we would never be able to notice. Even if I can’t see the change in my life fully, I can trust that God will bring people into my life to help me realize how much I’ve changed.

That’s all I have for now. I’m talking about the summer being over and I still have two more weeks out here. I want to do all I can while I’m out here- next week, I will be hiking Long’s Peak with a group of friends on Thursday (as long as the weather cooperates), so please be praying for that.

I also hope to get a few more hikes in, including another sunrise hike. On Tuesday, a group of friends and I went on a sunrise hike to Estes Cone- it was beautiful! I’ll have to post those pictures soon. And I forgot to mention that I hiked that while having strep throat. In my defense, I didn’t know I had it yet.

So, my summer has been phenomenal so far, despite some valleys in my life, but that’s ok because God uses those valleys to refine us and shape us. I have two weeks left, and I’m about to go make the best of it.

Psalm 20:7-8- “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.”

Friday, June 29, 2012

What Does My Heart Break For?

This is one of the questions I came here with. I wanted God to show me this, and I wanted to figure it out. And he has answered this question, which has been part of my prayers.

You see, over this past year, God has been slowly pushing me towards the realization that I may be best suited to enter the ministry field when I graduate college.

For my close family who is finding this out right now through this post, please don’t feel offended! This really isn’t something I’ve been sharing with many people. I’ve only been talking about it with a few close friends here In Colorado as I have come to this realization. And I also want to be honest with you- this may very well be the direction my life will go in.

Anyways, as I began to realize this, I was a little upset because ministry is such a broad field. You see, I’m the kind of person who likes to focus my efforts in one specific area- I don’t like to spread my abilities all over, I would rather develop them in one area, so me asking God where he wanted me specifically in ministry was a huge deal to me.

And of course, He answered me- Let me tell you, it is such a blessing to have a faithful God. Although we may not always see how he is faithful to our prayers, he still is, even though we are unable to see it. For these two things are true:

Hebrews 10:23- “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”

1 Corinthians 13:12- “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

So, in many ways, God is always faithful to us. This is a season in my life where I am able to see God being faithful to my prayers in abundance, and it has been awesome.

God’s answer to my prayer was actually not surprising- I might have already known what he was going to tell me in my subconscious mind, but He hadn’t specifically revealed it to me yet.

This happened when I was talking to my friend Michelle one night about what we had been learning at LT. Michelle really has a heart for women’s ministry, so much of what she talked about was about women’s ministry and how excited she was to learn about how to serve in this field.

As she was talking to me, I began to feel a want to know where God wanted me specifically in ministry. Mind you, this had actually happened numerous times before in our conversations, so this time, we looked into it.

She asked me, “What are you passionate about?” and my first natural response was of course, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

For those of you who don’t know, my Dad grew up in the Upper Peninsula (UP), so every summer since I can remember, we have always vacationed there, and made lots of memories there as a family. It’s a really special place to me, and partially because it reminds me of my dad, who passed away when I was 16.

So naturally, this brought up my dad. From that point on, Michelle began to talk about having a heart for the fatherless. I don’t remember everything she said, but I do remember her being really excited about my life and the purpose God had for me.

It was honestly a really interesting experience, because what happened was that Michelle was way more excited for my calling in ministry than I was, which I knew was God speaking through her to reach me. As I’ve said before (I think), God speaks to me through people, and this was absolutely a testament to that alone. Michelle being excited for me was God telling me that He is so excited for the destiny he’s given my life. How awesome is that!?

But i’ll be honest with you, my reaction was kind of dull. I knew that this made complete sense- my father had passed away 3 years ago, and because of that experience, I would be able to help those who were going through the same thing.

Not only that, but I can help people who have issues with their fathers- you see, someone doesn’t actually have to lose their father to be fatherless- a father could be emotionally absent, physically absent, or could just not be as involved with his children’s lives as he should be.

So, I know that with what I have experienced, God has crafted me to have a heart for the fatherless. Don’t get me wrong, this is really awesome, but right now, I just don’t have that passion in my heart yet, and to be honest with you, I’m not sure why. You’d think that after 3 years God would be able to grow that passion in me fully, but I guess it wasn’t his timing.

And that is something else I’m learning too. God does things on his own timing. Right now, I don’t believe that I’m completely healed from this yet. I know this because last summer, I thought I was fine, but God proved me wrong when I went to Michigan. I probably cried for the entire first week.

So, now that I know God does things on his own timing, I know he’s going to bring this issue up more fully in the future so that I may heal from it when he intends me to, and this also means that he’s going to give me a passion for it on his own timing too.

This is a very strange place to be in, to know what you were made to be passionate about, but to not fully have that passion yet. Again, it all comes down to Proverbs 3:5-6- I have to trust God with this completely.

And what’s really cool is that everything has been lining up for me to grow in this area of ministry. In my project group, almost everyone has some type of dad problem. One of the girls in my life group has gone through a hurtful situation involving her dad, and I have been able to help her through some things involving that very closely.

In addition, I get to go through a 5-week workshop that talks about the beauty of pain, and there are probably numerous other things that God has put into place for me to grow in this area.

Right now, I know God has told me this so that I can begin to prepare for the future, even though the passion in my heart is not fully on fire yet.

Regardless, I am really excited for this. As I continue to grow in my relationship with Jesus, I’m noticing that I’m gaining a greater sense of destiny for my life, which is such a blessing! And I know I’m not the only one. This sense of destiny comes with growth in a relationship with Jesus, which is a wonderful thing.

Genesis 50:19-20- “But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Surrender

It all started this past Saturday evening. We were having a Life Group hangout where some other ladies in my life group and I had a really good conversation about trusting God for everything.

God had already begun to challenge me to trust him, and to trust not in my own understanding like Proverbs 3:5-6 says. As were talking about this, we got on the topic of being led by the Holy Spirit and doing whatever God tells us to do.

One girl in my life group mentioned this cool quote that says, “How can we do anything radical for Jesus if we’re the ones defining what’s radical?” And so after discussing this, the 3 of us decided to challenge ourselves – to wake up every morning and to tell Jesus that we will do whatever he tells us to do, no matter how crazy it may sound.

I was expecting Jesus to tell me to do something really strange, maybe something like what Beth Moore was called to do in this story she tells about her being called by the Lord to brush an old man’s hair (watch the video by following This Link- it is totally worth it!) My friend Michelle showed me this video at the beginning of the summer, and ever since watching it, this is what I think of when I think of doing something radical where I have to trust in Jesus for everything.

So, those are the kinds of situations I was expecting, but Jesus had something else in mind. I can now honestly say that I had no idea what the heck I was getting myself into.

As you may know if you’ve been reading my blog, one of the things I want to learn how to do this summer is to fight against the lies that I believe that have been taught to me by Satan. They are lies I didn’t even know were lies, and this summer, I want to learn how to fight them.

But on Monday night, I was talking with my friend Michelle, the one who showed me the hairbrush video, and she was talking to me about the difference between focusing on God’s power and focusing on Satan’s lies. She had told me that a lot of her friends, whenever they were having problems, would focus on Satan and say, “he’s doing this in my life and I need to fight it!” And it made her wonder, why don’t we focus on God’s conquering power in these situations instead?

And that’s when I realized what I was doing wrong. Every time something would go wrong, I would focus on putting the blame on Satan and trying to fight him. I knew that God was more powerful than him, but I was forgetting that because I was focusing so much on trying to fight Satan.

I think this comes from my belief that you have to know what the problem is in order to fight it. I was focusing on knowing what the problem is, but so much that I was trying to fight it myself instead.

And I had begun to realize that I couldn’t fight it myself. This had been coming up in every other aspect of my life too. Again, if you’ve been following my blog, you’ll remember a post from April where I obscurely explained how God revealed something crazy to me. Because God had told me something that was going to happen in the future, I was trying to control what I learned and how I grew this summer so that I could be ready for when that time came.

Needless to say, it was not working. Trying to control everything and do it myself to hide my vulnerability was getting me nowhere.

And so with all of this, God completely broke me down on Tuesday night. I had come to the point where I didn’t know how to fight anymore. I didn’t know how to prepare myself for the future, which I so badly wanted to do, but I couldn’t. All this was producing was worry and stress.

On that Saturday night, I told God that I would do whatever he told me to do, no matter how crazy it sounded. And He told me to surrender everything to him, and to give him all the control.

Now that is what I call insane.

When this happened, I was like, how do I do this? I realized that you don’t surrender one time and then you’re completely surrendered forever. Because of our sinful nature, we will try to take control again, so in order to surrender, we have to wake up every day and give everything to God.

This is really challenging for me. It’s extremely difficult to do that when you may somewhat know what the future holds, but It’s lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders. So now, my challenge is to surrender. I’m giving the fighting and the control to God, and so far, it feels awesome.

And I’m also realizing that my mom was right. My mom doesn’t like it whenever I mention Satan, and I understood that, but in a way I also did not because of how important I believe it is to know what the problem is so that you can find a solution and fight effectively.

But now, I understand a lot more because I’ve learned that if we focus on Satan too much, we begin to lose sight of the power of God. And it’s much more powerful to trust in the power of God to conquer everything for us, because we can’t do it alone.

So that is what God is doing in my life right now. We’re almost halfway into LT, which means that the summer is almost halfway over! I’m personally not ready to go back, but I know that when I do go back, it is going to be awesome. And I know that God is going to use these remaining 6 weeks to do crazy things in my life and in everyone else’s life. I just have to surrender it all to him and let him take control.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”- Psalm 46:10

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Closer to the Sun

Today, two friends and I hiked a mountain called “Teddy’s Teeth,” which is named after Theodore Roosevelt. Not only were they the most historical incisors ever, it was also the highest altitude I’ve ever been at, and it had the most beautiful view.

We began the day with no map of a trail. You see, Teddy’s Teeth is right across from the YMCA property, so we thought we’d just go straight up the mountain, even when we knew we would have to go through some private property.

This proved to be kind of difficult, as we would hide behind rocks if a car came down the road, or we would try to avoid houses so we wouldn’t get caught.

Well, on the way up the mountain, I was getting pretty angry that it was so difficult to get up the mountain. We stopped to pray that we would get up safely without getting caught, and then I began to apologize for being so frustrated with everything. I told my two friends, Christina and Stacey, that I was sorry they had to hike with me.

Here I found myself being sorry for my existence again. After a long and good talking-to from the both of them, and some crying from me, we proceeded up the mountain.

At around 10:30am, we finally got to the top of the mountain. It was the most beautiful view I had ever seen. We ate our lunches up there, and then spent about another hour and a half at the top, which I decided to spend reading my bible and thinking about life.

I came to the realization that this was the closest to the sun I had ever been, literally. And next week, I was going to be even closer (we’re trying to slowly hike to higher altitudes so we can hike long’s peak at the end of the summer). Not only was it the closest I had ever been, but it was the most beautiful view I had seen.

And then I was able to realize that my walk with God was going to be similar this summer. I came here to get closer to the sun, the son of God, and I was going to. However, from my experience climbing that mountain, I realized it was going to be hard, really hard.

But when I get to the top, I’m going to be closer to the Son of God, and the view and the journey is going to become more beautiful as I become closer to the Son of God, no matter how hard the journey may be.

This verse has really been a cornerstone verse in my life for the past few months:

Proverbs 3:5-6- “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

And with everything I have said, I realized today that I may not see how I will get immensely closer to God this summer, but with whatever is happening right now, I can’t trust in my own understanding, because that will not define the outcome, or my future. It will always get the hardest before it gets really good again.

So that is what I learned today on my hike to Teddy’s Teeth. We also took the wrong path on the way back, which landed us in this random campsite that offers horseback riding up trails on the mountain. From there, we had to hike back to the YMCA, which made today’s hike 8 Hours long. No big deal really.

If you take anything away from this, I want you to remember that you can’t trust in your own understanding, or what is happening right in front of you. It might seem bad right now, but it always gets worse before it gets better.

So right now, I plan on trusting that I will get closer to the Son of God this summer, no matter what circumstances I am in. And I plan on getting closer to the sun with every mountain I hike, no matter how hard going up the mountain may be. I will make it to the top.



It's going to be beautiful

“I trust not in my own understanding, My life is in the hands of the maker of heaven”
-Will Reagan, “Nothing I Hold on to”

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I'm In A War


Insecurity- Lack of confidence or assurance; self-doubt

I’m going to be honest with you all. So far, LT has been mentally exhausting. I’m finding myself in what you would call a spiritual rut, or in truthful words, a painful battle of the mind against Satan’s lies.

At first, I thought I was having trouble giving myself grace, and to tell you the truth, I’m not exactly sure where that came from, because my good friend Christina Green helped me realize that I was really doing nothing wrong.

What I mean by this is that whatever I thought I was doing wrong, I was actually not. You see, I have this huge problem with saying sorry for virtually everything I do. For example, today at work, one of the kitchens I cleaned took a really long time to clean, so I apologized for it taking so long. In reality, I hadn’t done anything wrong, and kitchens just generally take a long time to clean.

I can give you countless examples of me saying sorry for things that I shouldn’t be. I apologize for talking about certain things or bringing them up too often, being crazy like I do on a normal basis, accidentally bumping into someone. Honestly, I apologize for things so much that in essence, I am apologizing for my very existence.

I realize this, and I know that it’s a heartbreaking fact of my life right now. I’m literally apologizing for my existence. Nobody should have to feel like they need to do that. Yet I do.

For some reason, I believe that I am an obnoxious person that is a bother. I believe that everyone is able to do something, but I am not able to. I am simply the one left out. I believe that I always need to be changing who I am and working towards a better me, because I am simply not good enough. I never believe I am good enough.

And in all these things I am apologizing for, I am not actually doing anything wrong that warrants an apology. For so long, I thought I was having a massive amount of trouble giving myself grace for my wrongs, but Christina said to me that I wasn’t able to give myself grace simply because the situation didn’t warrant for it. In other words, there is no grace to be given in a place where no wrongs have been done.

Instead, she was able to point out to me that what I really needed was a suit of armor and a gun instead of grace - these things I was apologizing for were not wrongs, they were insecurities.

And I should have known the whole time, right!? After all, the last blog post I wrote was about fighting. I knew this summer was going to be about fighting, but I forgot all about it after I posted about it.

So really, this is just me coming back to the reality that I need to keep on fighting. Satan is one tricky man, and I will be honest- he gets me every time. But because Jesus has already won, I will always be able to overcome Satan’s lies, no matter how much time it will take.

So, I’m off to fighting again. Please pray for me, because this is really difficult and mentally exhausting. If I could describe it, I would say that my brain is being mutilated by forks- that’s how much I think, and that’s how intense the battle is.

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God.”

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fighting

Yesterday, to kick off and prepare for Leadership Training, we had an LT retreat for the entirety of the day. There were three parts to the day. The first was called upward, or focusing on your relationship with God. The next was called inward, where we focused on relationships and spent time with our project groups. The last part of the day was called outward, where we focused on reaching out to people who don’t know the Lord yet and being lights to the world.

The entire day was wonderful and really set the stage for the entire summer, but what I want to talk about specifically was the part where we went “inward.”

For those of you who don’t know, a project group is basically a bible study that meets once a week for an entire day. Within those groups, we have life groups, which is a smaller, closer group of people who will get to grow especially close during the summer. For you BG folk, you could equate this to fusion and a cell group.

During the “inward” time, our project group was discussing ways to grow closer over the summer. The one goal I remember us specifically discussing was the goal of confrontation. If someone has a problem with someone else, then confront that person about it. This absolutely builds stronger relationships and community and is a great goal to have. Sounds easy enough, right?

Not so fast. Although it may sound easy, and we may know it is the correct step to take, it is one of the hardest goals of them all when it comes down to it. When this came up, I felt specifically motivated to really emphasize how much we will have to work at this and keep each other accountable in order to achieve this goal.

I know from experience that this is not easy. At the beginning of last year, our RA staff created a list of rules to live by for the school year. One of them was to confront each other about problems directly, and to not talk behind each other’s backs.

It was a goal that made sense, but was way too virtuous because none of us ended up following it at all. There came a point around the month of February where the avoiding of confrontation became especially bad. Because of this, the talking behind each other’s backs increased. Needless to say, it was not a good month.

From that experience, I learned that it’s never enough to just really emphasize that we need to keep a goal.  In order to keep a goal as difficult as confrontation, we have to fight for it. We have to be armed with all of the spiritual warfare the Lord gives us before it hits us.

And it’s no surprise that this goal is one of those especially hard to achieve ones. Confrontation is one of those tools that are most successful in building relationships up and breaking down barriers between people. Because Satan hates good and fruitful relationships, he is going to try everything to trick us into avoiding this.
And so, there’s only one thing left to do. We have to fight.

And after this “inward” time, I was left with a desire to fight. I began to realize that if you want to live as a strong Christian woman or man, you have to be willing to fight. And I am so thankful that the Lord has given me this desire. I had already known that fighting was important, but I was never motivated enough to consistently fight.

If you leave this page with one thing, I want it to be this. I want you to leave knowing that you have to fight if you want to sustain as a Christian. Heck, you have to fight even if you aren’t religious at all. Life sucks, and we are stuck in the middle of a war between Satan and God. Satan is the initiator, and he is tricky. You have to fight.

So fight for your friends, your relationships, your community, your family, your church, the lost and broken, your future husband or wife, your current husband or wife, and yourself. Fight for anything that comes to mind. Become prayer warriors for these people, for the world, for things to come, and for what God wants you to fight for.

You have to fight! Prepare yourself for war, and fight anything and everything. As for me, I’m preparing myself for a summer, and more importantly a lifetime of fighting. I know that’s what it’s going to be. Will you join me?

Ephesians 6:10-13- “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Calm Before the Storm

So, I finally made it to Colorado!



The mountains are beautiful, the air is fresh, and I’ve learned that housekeeping is some really hard work. I think the hardest part about being here early is that the LT program hasn’t started up yet. All 4 of us have been in this strange limbo mode where we go to work all day, and then do miscellaneous things in the evening. For me, I’ve mainly been writing, but it’s just been a really strange time.

I’m finding that I’ve actually been pretty lonely. Today, I finally got some roommates (praise the Lord!), so it’s been a lot better, and I know it’s going to get better as I meet new people.

However, I still can’t shake this feeling that I’m waiting in the calm before the storm. And the storm is about to start tomorrow- Monday is the first big move-in day for the staff dorms, and then everyone in the LT program arrives on Wednesday, so things are about to get crazy.

Luckily, I have the day off on Wednesday, so I’m going to go hiking and exploring with some friends to get out of everyone’s way and to avoid the insanity.

With what I see about to happen in front of me, I have a strong feeling from the Holy Spirit that this is about to be a great summer, and I say great because I have no other words to describe what I’m feeling.

It’s going to be great, but it’s going to be SO hard. I can already see places in my life where God can grow me. I will be living with 3 other roommates, and living quarters will be tight. I will have to endure a full time housekeeping job, which I have never done before.

There are just so many areas where God could work and grow me in my life. In some ways, He’s shown me what’s going to happen. Actually, I know these things are going to happen, but the scary part is that I don’t know how he’s going to make them happen.

So, I’m in the process of mentally preparing myself for possibly the most influential, faith stretching, and tiring summer of my entire life. The enemy may be against me, but God is so much more powerful than that.

Philippians 4:13- “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

BRING IT ON.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Colorado Here I Come!

Hey everyone! So, if you didn’t know already, I’m going to be in Colorado for 11 weeks this summer! I will leave on Tuesday for my friend Michelle’s house. On the way, my mom and I will be picking up Josie, another friend who is going with us, and then we will leave early Wednesday morning to start the drive. On the way, we will pick up the last girl who will be traveling with us, Christina.

I’m super excited to road trip across the country with these four girls! It’s a 20-hour drive, but don’t worry, we’re prepared. We’ve got dinosaur hats and a bubble wand!

But the road trip is just the beginning. I’m starting to realize how significant this summer may be in my life. It will be an opportunity to work a full time job, make some money, spend time in community, spend time in the mountains, and most importantly, grow closer to God as I’m out there.

No matter how prepared I want to be for this, I don’t think I’m going to be. What’s going to happen in Colorado is going to be something I simply won’t be able to predict, but I know God is going to blow my expectations away again.

Let’s get down to the main point. While I’m out in Colorado for the summer, I’m going to be updating about what’s going on by using my blog. I hope to update every week, however, it might be more, or it might be less. It will just depend on what I am learning and what is going on at the time.

And the posts will probably be shorter, which is something I’ve been trying to work on because I realize that people don’t easily hold their attention for a 3 page post, no matter how much I split it into paragraphs. I will also be posting prayer requests that I may have while I’m out there.

I also thought it would be a good idea to get a prayer team together while I’m out there because I know that prayer is powerful, and I know that it’s a good thing to have support. So, if you want to commit to praying for me while I’m out there, just respond in a comment on this post. If you don’t have blogger and can’t comment, just sent me a Facebook message. Any prayers are appreciated, and are stronger than anything else!

I guess the last thing to say is, stay tuned if you are interested in reading about my life! And if you are, thanks for reading! It really does mean a lot that people like to read what I write (because I love to write) and that people care about my life.

Mark 9:28-29- “And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Closing Time

I honestly don’t know where to begin here. I’ve had a little under a week to dwell on and think about the year in its entirety, and I’ve realized that one single blog post cannot do justice to what this year ended up becoming.

This is where I’ll start out. After my first year of college, I really didn’t think it could get any better, but I was extremely wrong. God proved me wrong on everything I had expected, and he met expectations that I didn’t even know existed.

And so I’m literally sitting here, speechless. There are honestly a million different things I could talk about, and they all mesh together to form my sophomore year of college, but I think I’ll start with one of the most foundational things that happened, that really holds the year together.

At the beginning of the school year, I was excited to become more involved in my campus church, h2o, but not a single fiber of my being could expect what God really had in store for our church this year.

It all began at fall getaway, which is our weekend retreat that happens in the fall (as the name basically says). The topic of fall getaway this year was lies, or in other words, lies that Satan tells us, and that we naturally believe. It really opened my eyes to all of the lies I had believed for my whole life, and most importantly, it set the foundation for what I would call a movement of freedom.

Yes, this was just the beginning. After fall getaway, this theme of decoding Satan’s lies would lie underneath the woodwork. In other words, we had all been introduced to the idea of being free from these lies, but the topic hadn’t been addressed much past fall getaway. However, the theme lingered on the backburner, in the back of everyone’s minds.

And then, God decided that he wanted to really hit us all in the face with this new idea of freedom, which came at our women’s weekend, a retreat we have for all the women in the church during the month of February.

Let me tell you, I have honestly never been impacted so profoundly by a retreat in my entire life. For me, it was a brand new lookout on life. I had always admired the idea of transparency in my mind, but had never had the faith and confidence to be transparent myself. During this weekend, I truly learned that no one will judge you for who you are, where you’ve been, or what you’ve had trials in.

I was also able to identify some of the lies that had been rooted in my life so deeply. There was one instance I remember from as early as preschool. I remember sitting in my preschool teacher’s lap. She asked me to write my name, and I began to cry and say that I couldn’t do it. And so as far back as I can remember, I had been believing the lie that I couldn’t do it- whatever anyone else could do, I couldn’t do the same.
That’s only one of the lies I discovered from my past. But if there’s one thing I learned from all of this that I want all of you to know, it’s that identifying that there is a force against you (in this case, Satan) is one of the most important things you can ever do. By identifying that force, you will be able to gather the resources and tools to fight it. And honestly, it will free you from a lot of things.

Trust me, I know that the idea of an active force such as Satan in your life is a very scary thing, but he is strongest and most powerful when he is working behind the scenes and we are not fighting back. That is why it is so important to know that he is there, so that you can fight back. If it helps, it’s similar to fighting cancer. The cancer is strongest when you don’t know it’s there and you’re not fighting against it. Only when we identify the cancer can we actively fight against it, thus making it weaker.

Anyways, that will probably be one of the most valuable things I ever learn in life. Learning about freedom and becoming free had transformed the way I live, and I would never want to go back to how I was before in a second.

On top of this transformative theme in my life, God also blessed me with the opportunity to be an RA this year. When I moved in on August 7th 2011, I had no idea what to expect. All I remember was that I was lonely, and that the only expectation I had was to have strong relationships with my residents. Being close with my staff wasn’t a priority at the time.

And of course, God crushed that expectation too. As the fall semester began, I learned that God instead had plans for me to be extremely close with my RA staff, which I am so extremely grateful for. I can’t sum up our staff relationship in a blog post, or even a novel, but I can say that every single person on that staff taught me what it means to be there for each other. This year, we were truly a family. From the rough duty nights to the late night Waffle House excursions, we were always there for each other.

And even though I believe that I had much stronger relationships with my staff, I still was able to build some solid relationships with my residents. They taught me what it means to confront people, what it means to be there for someone, and most of all, what it looks like to be an unbiased mediator in a dramatic situation (LOL, I love you girls!).

On top of all these things, God decided to radically answer one of my prayers and desires of my heart at the end of March, which I addressed and rather cryptically discussed in a previous blog post (trust me, there’s a reason for the secrecy, and I’m sure I’ll be able to write about it candidly someday), but ever since then, I’ve grown and learned a ridiculous amount.

Because of it, my prayer life has become dramatically better, which has been really awesome, and I’ve probably experienced the most joy that I can remember. I’ve also written so much that I think I may get carpal tunnel before the age of 30, which really would not be fun, so let’s hope that doesn’t happen!

But because of this happening, my mind was taken completely out of the school zone and into what you can probably call daydreaming all the time. I found myself literally having to trust God in everything school related, which meant writing papers, studying, and taking exams. I was able to take it one week at a time, and I swear, by the grace of God, I was able to make it through the rest of the year. I ended the year with 3 A’s and one B, and I am still astounded at how the Lord truly got me through this.

At the end of the year, I found myself overwhelmed with reflection as I thought about all that God had done. I’ve learned so much, more than I could ever explain or remember, I’ve met people that I will not soon forget, and I’ve made close friends that will definitely still be in my life for a very long time.

And as I went home, I found myself so reluctant to leave my staff and what this year had become. I’ve already cried, and I’ve even written “HAB Staff 2011-2012” in icing on my cherry toaster strudel. Yes, I am that pathetic.

But I think it’s a good thing. I know it means that this year has meant a lot to me and made an everlasting impact on me. And again, I have to thank my mom for making me apply to Bowling Green, because I love it, I’ve learned so much, and I would never want to be anywhere else.

I believe this is an appropriate quote to end my post with. It’s from the song “Closing Time,” which is what the post is named. The lyric goes, “Closing Time, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” I feel like this is so appropriate. I’ve had such an awesome year, and I am so blessed, but the closing of this year leaves the door open for new beginnings this summer and next year.

This summer, I will be going to Colorado for 11 weeks to work at the YMCA of the Rockies and participate in a program called Leadership Training, which is through the church I go to in Bowling Green. I am so excited for this, and I know God is going to teach me so much and blow away my expectations again.

As for next year, things will be different, but it will be good, because I know by closing some doors, the Lord is opening up new doors in my life for even better things to happen. Or, who knows what he’ll even do. Sometimes, I think this is too good to be true, but all I can do is wait and see what God will do next.

Thank you for reading in on my life and what I write about. I hope you’ve learned something, and I hope this has encouraged you.

Luke 18:19- “And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” To God be all the glory.

Monday, April 30, 2012

My Own Story

(Written 4/16/12)

These past few weeks have been so awesome for me. The Lord revealed to me something that completely changed my life and brought me closer to him. Through this experience, I’ve learned of the faithfulness of God, that He loves me, that He is immensely Holy, and so many other things (I could probably write a novel about this, and hey! Maybe one day I will), but the one thing I want to talk about is how important it is to really trust in what the Lord is telling you.

When this was first revealed to me, I was like WHAT THE HECK, This is crazy, but then I learned of five other people who were going through the same thing, so right then, I knew that the Lord was up to something good. One day, 4 of us got together to talk about our stories. As I was listening to other people’s stories, I realized that I was beginning to think that my story wasn’t right or true because the other stories were different from mine.

And it was then that I realized this was a lie. My story was 100% true and holy, just as true as the other ones. I had begun to believe that the Lord speaks to everyone in different ways, and that the Lord has a different story planned out for everyone. No one’s life story is the same, so no one’s story is comparable.

It’s just like trying to compare the nutritional value of Swedish fish to carrots. There simply is no grounds for comparison, because we all know that the candy is obviously much more unhealthy than the carrot.

So, how do I know that everyone was created for a unique and specific purpose, and that the Lord works differently in all people’s lives? Here’s some scriptural evidence:

1 John 2:26-27- “I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie- just as it has taught you, abide in him.”

Here, we see that it is clear that the only thing we need to know of the truth of the Lord is from him. We need to be careful about what outside influences tell us, because they could distract us from what the Lord is trying to tell us specifically. This is not surprising according to our purpose, since we were designed to have an intimate relationship with the Lord.

1 Corinthians 12:12-15 – “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body- Jews or Greeks, slaves or free- and all were made to drink of one Spirit.  For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.”
This passage is explaining that all people have an essential role in the kingdom of God. Some were meant to teach, others to perform miracles, some to heal, others to help, others to be pastors, etc., but all are equally important. This is so essential to remember because often, we devalue ourselves in saying that our role is not as important as someone else’s.

I do my fair share of this in my own life. Something that I struggle with is believing that my major is important. I’m a History major with a Political Science minor. What the heck will I do with that? Often times, I don’t feel as legitimate as those around me who are education majors in a certain field. I feel that since they are education majors, they are going for something more legitimate, and are more likely to get a job.

However, I have to keep telling myself this is not true. I have to trust in what the Lord is telling me to do, and right now, he wants me to major in History. I have to trust that he is going to use this somehow down the line in my life. I also have to trust that after I graduate, he will provide me with a job or some type of purpose to fulfill, whether that job has to do with my major or not.

1 John 3:1- “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”

Matthew 7:10-11- “Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

To me, this verse tells me that the Lord has created a specific purpose for us and talks to us in different ways because He loves us and we are His children. How awesome is that! If you are a parent, think about how much you love your children. In the same way, the Lord loves us like that, but to an even greater extent because He is perfect and holy. Why would he not want to have a unique and special relationship with us?

I think another huge problem that comes from comparison is low self-esteem. Today, I had a friend text me and ask me to pray for her because she was struggling with her body image. We ended up getting lunch today, and she was able to tell me a lot more about what was going on.

I heard her say that she felt like she was too tall, too big, and not pretty enough compared to everyone else. That broke my heart, because I know that is not true. One of the things I found so important to tell her is that God made her unique, special, and for a special purpose that is different from everybody else in the world. After hearing this today, I came to realize how many people actually struggle with this, and it’s part of the reason why I felt the need to write this.

In conclusion, please believe that you are unique and have a specific life purpose that is different from everyone else. Go out into the world with confidence in the Lord, yourself, and your purpose. Nothing about you or your life makes you more inadequate, it only makes you different than everyone else.

And different is beautiful.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Freedom and Cats



Yes, I am beginning this post with this ridiculous and adorable picture of a morbidly obese cat that has been forced into wearing denim overalls by his cruel owner.

When I first saw this picture, I thought it was hilarious, so I saved it to the desktop on my computer.

But after the experience I had this weekend, it became evident to me that although the cat looked adorable, he didn’t look happy, and he didn’t look comfortable. Just take a look at him. Those overalls look adorable, but he’s so obese that it’s clear that those overalls barely fit him. His body has been restrained into this uncomfortable piece of clothing. It almost seems like his body is waiting to break out of those overalls so he can live his normal cat life with confidence and peace.
And over the weekend, I learned that most of us are like this cat.

This weekend, I had the privilege of attending a women’s weekend retreat through my church here in Bowling Green. The topic for the weekend was “Journey to Freedom.”

Our first session was about having freedom from the past and the mistakes we have made in life. Our speaker, Maria Owens (who came all the way from South Carolina by the way), spoke to us about all the harnesses that hold us back from a life of freedom in Christ. The key verse for the session was Galatians 5:1, which says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened by a yoke of slavery”(NIV).

In this verse, the first part is about what has already been done by Christ for us, and the second part is about how we can take hold of that freedom Christ wants for us for ourselves.

For me, it was and still is so wonderful to know that Christ had already provided that freedom for me, and that I could take it at any time I wanted to. But the only problem was that there were many things in my life that were in my way of taking this freedom without any hesitation.

Actually, that seemed to be the case for many people that night. After the session was over, I looked around the room and saw lots of people in tears. There were so many people that had been held back by these past trials or experiences, and I was one of those people.

But for some reason, I wasn’t crying along with the majority of the women who were. I felt the need to cry, but I couldn’t, and maybe this was because I knew what I had been hiding for years. I’d realized it very long ago, and had always wanted to be transparent about it, so that I would be able to be free.

Transparency had always been an area that I wanted to strive in. In being transparent with others, I knew that I could have freedom for myself, and that by sharing my story, I could bring freedom to others by the Grace of God.

I knew all these things, and there were times when I was so ready to share and be transparent, but then I would think about the crowd of people I would share it with, and I would immediately stop in my tracks. I thought about all the people I might share it with, and I couldn’t bring myself to do it because I was so afraid that my closest friends would turn from me and walk the other way. I was afraid of what other people would think of me, and so I had never been transparent about it before.

Mind you, this is what stopped me every time I thought about being transparent about my life. That night, it was still something that was stopping me, but it had come to the point where God wasn’t going to have this lie stop me from sharing anymore.

I was thinking about sharing, and realized that I needed to share this for God, because it was something that would make me even closer to him. And suddenly, I asked myself the question, “What’s more important: your relationship with God, or your relationship with your friends?”

I knew the answer to this question. And I knew I had to share.

And that next day, I finally did, in front of a group of 80 women. Some of them knew me well, some of them knew me, and some of them barely even knew who I was, but I know that when I shared during that time, I was able to bring others freedom by candidly talking about something I struggled with that was just never talked about among groups of women. It was something that society didn’t even acknowledge as a struggle among women.

That day, I was able to free other women, grow closer to God, and free myself from what I had been hiding. Now, I feel the most free I have ever felt in my life. I feel free to be myself around everyone, even if they have no idea what my deepest secret is.

Folks, I will tell you, this is not a fairy tale. This is absolutely real life, and it’s something you can have too. Please, don’t let yourself continue to be that oversized cat in undersized denim overalls. I don’t want you to have to suffer like that, and neither does God.

And honestly, when you’re able to free yourself from those past yokes in your life, you will realize that no one is going to judge you, run away from you, or think lesser than you. They will just think of you as stronger than you were before, and they will thank you for sharing.

I just wanted to share this because it’s something that’s made such a difference in my life already, even though it’s only been a day since I’ve shared.  

Just keep this in mind: Freedom is a gift that is waiting for you today, you are just the one in charge of accepting it for yourself. What's holding you back?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I'd Rather Forget and Not Slow Down (1/21/12)

This is just something I’ve learned about within the past week. I actually started writing this a week ago, and I’ve just come back to finish it, so I hope it makes sense.

These past few days have not been the best. It all ended with me crying on my futon while listening to “Nearer My God to Thee” from The Titanic. Dramatic, right?

Yeah, probably. Probably too dramatic for the situation, but I must admit that I needed to cry because of how upset I was becoming at the state of my mind and the position of my relationship with God.

It began this Wednesday night, when I began to think that a friend of mine was angry with me because of how she had been acting around me lately. This was hard for me because I thrive off of words of affirmation, which is undoubtedly my love language. So, when I think people are angry with me, I do not take it very well to say the least.

I found out later that she actually wasn’t mad at me, but that wasn’t until later, so from that point on, things began to snowball. This got me thinking about if I was a good RA or not. I began to compare myself with other members of my staff, which brought my self-esteem and confidence to an even lower level.

Then, I began to think about a relationship that I have with one of my friends that instills fear in me, which isn’t really supposed to happen in a relationship, but in this case, it does. I usually fear judgment from this person- for some reason, I fear that this individual thinks I’m annoying and hangs out with me because she feels obligated to do so. Again, when I think people are annoyed with me or dislike me, I do not take it well.

Next, I started thinking about my most ambiguous secret that I have not told many people about. This secret is more of a trial I have in my life, and every day I strive to control it so that no one finds out what it is. Some days, it doesn’t affect me at all, and other days, it’s a lot harder to deal with. When it’s harder to deal with, I lose my faith in God because I begin to think that he can’t fix something in my life that I think is so hard to deal with, and that he can’t fix me, a lost cause.

There are lots of reasons why I don’t tell people about this trial I face. If I haven’t told you, please don’t begin to think that I trust you less than some of my other friends. I know that honesty is by far the best policy, but in most situations, I am not ready to talk about yet.

And there was even something good in my life that made the snowball grow even larger. On Friday, while I was in the back room (the room behind the front desk in the residence hall I work in), my hall director pulled me aside to talk to me about something. I freaked out a little because I thought it was going to be about something I had done wrong, but he reassured me that it was a good thing. So, I sat down in the chair in front of his desk, and he told me that he thought I should also consider applying for the ARA position for next year because he thinks I would be good at it.

I was surprised, and honored that he thought I would be able to do this, but at the time, I was feeling a little overwhelmed at everything that was going on. You could basically say that I felt like the “Y U NO” meme guy:



Pretty strange looking guy, but that’s how I felt.

Anyways, all of this led to me lying on my futon while crying to sad tunes that were playing off of my laptop. Being that my iTunes is set to shuffle, a song started playing that I needed to hear. It’s called “Forget and Not Slow Down” by Relient K. Literally all the lyrics from the song were what I needed to hear at the time.

At first, these were the lyrics that stood out to me the most:
“I'd rather forget and not slow down

Than gather regret for the things I can't change now

If I become what I can't accept

Resurrect the saint from within the wretch

One huge problem that was causing this life problems snowball to happen was the control I wanted to have over the trials in my life. I was trying to control everything so much that I was afraid to trust God and let go of it. To me, this was Him telling me that I needed to let go of what I was controlling and trust Him to handle it. After all, that’s what He does! He is a God whom I can have faith in, and I need to start resting my life in the hands of the one whom I can trust.

Another cause of this life problems snowball that was happening was the regrets that I was holding onto from the past. I believe that one of the reasons I have fear in that particular relationship I mentioned before is because I always dwell on the things I could have done differently, for example, I will ask myself, “why did I say that!” or, “I could have reacted differently in this situation!” in accordance with the things I want to change about the past.
And for this, the Lord spoke to me through these lyrics from the same song:

“Cause I could spend my life just trying to sift through

What I could've done better but what good do what ifs do.”

To me, this was so applicable to my life. It made me realize that really, what good do “what ifs” do? If you keep wondering “what if?”, it will only slow your progress and impede on your ability to freely witness for the Lord.

In many ways, I feel that this song was like the key to my jail cell. It liberated me from what was holding me back. It helped me come to the understanding that I don’t have to worry about what I’ve done or what I’m going to do wrong in the future, I just need to trust God to take control and to redeem those aspects of me that aren’t perfect.

And I know that once I’m able to let go and allow God to free me from my jail cell, I will be at peace.