Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Remember When...

While doing my reading this morning I was reminded of something I wrote in a post several months back, and after looking up said post I ended up spending the next hour or so skimming back through the 3 years of this blog's existence. I first started sharing my adventures and my journey through life when I got to Utah in 2010, and a LOT has happened in those 3 years. 2 jobs, 2 boyfriends, 3 houses, 2 married siblings, 1 niece, 2 nephews, and many lessons learned along the way. As I adventured through my own past I was reminded of the story of the nation of Israel when they crossed the Jordan river in Joshua chapter four. God commanded Joshua to have a member from each tribe pick up a stone from the center of the riverbed and to set them up in a memorial on the other side. This was to be done so that when asked of their significance they could explain the story of God's faithfulness for generations to come. In some ways this blog serves as my "memorial stones" in my life. Looking back over where I started when I got here, the seasons He has brought my life through, to where I am now, tears of joy and gratefulness in God's never ending faithfulness and mercy and grace flow anew. Here are a few lessons I have been reminded of today as I walked down memory lane. If you want to see the original post I have linked each one.
Remembering to have faith like a child.
                           Learning to embrace the new instead of wasting all of my energy missing the old.
 Being willing to open my heart and my home, because whatever we do for the least of these we do for Him.
                                  That life is short and challenged about glorifying God with my time here.
Of the place of influence God has put me in as a woman.
               How who I am and how He created me has me right where He wants me, even if I'm "not normal".
Many lessons of learning what God wants me to do, and doing it.
                                     Above everything else is that God really is faithful beyond a shadow of a doubt.

All of that said I feel rejuvenated as write this, encouraged, refreshed, and so very glad God laid it on my heart those years ago to write and share my journey. Here is to the future, wherever it may lead.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I Can Be Your Friend La La La

For some reason the sermons at church the past few weeks have inspired many a Veggie Tales tune in my head, from french peas singing and throwing slushies off the wall at Jericho to Moses talking to the burning bush. So, naturally, as I was sitting here thinking this morning another tune sung by my favorite childhood vegetables came to mind.

Even in how busy I've been working with all of the singles at church and amongst other friends God has been working in my life on where my security lies. As I was sitting here this morning a conversation I overheard way back at my first year apprentice graduation came to mind. We were spreading sawdust in the barn the day before and a friend made a comment about how she doesn't fit in a box, and as the ranch director walked by he said that if she got back in the box more often she'd have more friends. What stuck in my mind is that yes, if we fit in a specific box we may have more friends who are all in the same box, but then what influence would we have for Christ if we were all in the same place? What about the misfits? Or the people in other boxes? This has been heavy on my heart the past week as I've struggled with feeling like I'm in a lot of people's back pocket for when they need something, but not a choice for social stuff and fun stuff. A lot of times it feels like if I want to be a part then it has to be my idea or my sister's idea. Even as tears flow anew this morning I know it's OK. In the words of one of my mentors, "God sets apart those He wants to use greatly." It is a blessing in disguise to not fit in a box, because it allows me to interact with a broader range of people.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus...

Life is full of surprises, but none of them surprise God, He knows everything that life can throw at us. In the last couple of weeks He has been speaking to me about where I am supposed to go next in my life. Some of you will be thrilled, and some bummed, to know that I will be staying in Utah for the foreseeable future.

The journey began here:
Proverbs 25:2 "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter."
   - Do the digging
   - Jeremiah 29:11-13 "'For I know the plans I have for you' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare   and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart."

The Order:
Psalms 37:3-6 "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgement as the noonday."

The Promise:
Psalms 37:23-26 "The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in His way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the one who holds his hand. I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread. All day long he is gracious and lends, and his descendants are a blessing."

So, I stay. For what purpose, I'm not sure. But I know He is faithful and if I pursue Him and His purposes for me first He will give me the desire of my heart, because my desires will be rooted in His.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Faithfulness None Can Deny...

Whom shall I fear? There is no one who can affect me outside of my Father’s will. Whom shall I dread? There is no one who can hurt me without my Father’s permission.
My enemies stumble and fall, a thousand fall at my side and ten thousand at my right hand, but it will not approach me. I shall be confident in the goodness of God and wait for His leading. Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint. This means I must be moving forward and doing the work in my Father’s battlefields or else I wouldn’t be losing strength in the first place. By the power of God I can run upon a troop and leap over a wall. He makes my feet like hinds feet and sets me upon the high places. He has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of sound mind.
It is by my deeds that I distinguish myself, if my actions are pure and right. Whatever I do, I am to do it to the glory of God. Even in my youth I am to be an example to those around me because I am not in this battle alone. I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, so I must lay aside every encumbrance and run with endurance. Those around me will see a difference because I will conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. I am called to carry other’s burdens when one is fallen or injured, but they are also there for me if I will humble myself and accept it. As a servant of God I am to do nothing out of selfish ambition, but to have the same mindset of Christ in serving others. I no longer need to act as a selfish child because when I became a man I put away childish things. I have the capacity to love and give as Christ did, even if it means being injured myself. If I keep my eyes on Jesus I will not grow weary or lose heart as I look out for the interests of others.
  Unless even a corn of wheat falls into the ground and dies it is fruitless, but when I die to myself and give up my life for Christ I will bear much fruit. I will suffer at my post for a little while, but my God, who called me to Himself, will confirm, strengthen, and establish me. He will mend that which was broken. This doesn’t mean I will get a break, but that He will replenish my strength as I go and as necessary. I don’t need to be anxious for anything, but to ask with a spirit of thanksgiving and He will bring me peace. My faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. If I lack wisdom all I need to do is ask in faith and it will be given to me. For every good gift and every perfect gift comes from God. He will pour out of me even when I feel completely empty as long as I am willing to rest in His power and NOT my own.

Psalms 27:1-3, 13, 14
1 Corinthians 13:11
Psalms 18                            
Proverbs 20:11
1 Peter 5:10
1 Tim 4:12
2 Timothy 1:6-7
John 12:24   
1 Corinthians 10:31
Psalms 91                           
Philippians 2:4-5
Philippians 1:27-30                       
Philippians 4:6-7
Hebrews 1:12
Galatians 6:2
Hebrews 11:1
Isaiah 40:29-31            
James 1:5-6
1 Corinthians 8:12-13                                 
1 Peter 5:10                      
2 Corinthians 10:4
James 1:17

Monday, August 12, 2013

Life Is Not What I Thought It Was...

Twenty four oceans
Twenty four skies
Twenty four failures
Twenty four tries
Twenty four finds me
In twenty-fourth place
Twenty four drop outs
At the end of the day
Life is not what I thought it was
Twenty four hours ago

    Change, lots of change, can happen in a very short amount of time. Such has been the story of my life over the last 6 years. "Life Is A Highway" by Rascal Flatts has been my theme song as I've moved from state to state as God has lead me different places. In 24 hours it will be my third anniversary of living in this beautiful state of Utah. In that time I have fallen in love with where I live, made friends, learned the fun things to do, the hole in the wall places to go, and it has started to really feel like home. But in 48 hours that could all change.

    A couple of weeks ago I lost my job due to some complicated circumstances at work. That being said, the last few weeks have been a roller coaster of trying to figure out where I am going and what I'm doing. Job application after job application in a scatter gun effect from coast to coast. The feeling of who I was being torn away, of meeting new people and having no answer when they asked what I do for a living. The repetitive motions of getting up and going for my run and then coming home to sit at the computer all day and do more applications and more searches without knowing where I'm supposed to go next. Today I described it to a friend as feeling like the compass from Pirates of the Caribbean when they didn't know what they wanted and it would just spin in circles. Through those days Psalms 23 has been at the forefront of my mind; "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul." Even without a job I have not been left wanting, I am blessed to have parents who taught me to be responsible with my money so bills have been easily covered, and living under their roof I've had food and shelter, there isn't any more I could ask for right now. The part of the verse that has stood out to me the most though is "He makes me lie down in green pastures". It isn't "He suggests I rest" or "He allows me to rest" it is "He makes me rest". Coming through the spring as a vet tech I was running thin and weary and not only were my relationships with family and friends suffering, but also my relationship with God. The forced rest of not having a job has allowed me to rejuvenate my spiritual life as well as invest more in my social life, not to mention the physical relief of not working crazy hours.

    I say all of that to ask for your prayers as some big things lie in the next couple of days. Things that could bring another drastic change into my life, one that I'm not sure if I'm ready for yet. Today I got my first call on an application I put in last week to set up a phone interview for Wednesday afternoon. The interview is for a position in Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital in their equine department. It would be a major step forward in my career as well as put me geographically closer to a ministry that God has laid on my heart ever since I left there to move to Utah 3 years ago.

    I have no idea what may happen in the next few days, but one thing I have been learning is the importance of praising God in every step of the process. He knows what He is doing, and for that I am very grateful.

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Saturday, July 6, 2013

You Get Used To Somebody...

... You get used to being loved.

Yesterday I got slammed with a feeling I hadn't dealt with in a long time, the feeling of extreme loneliness. The feeling of being completely lost in a sea of thousands that don't care if I do or don't exist. Is it true? No. I'm surrounded by family that loves me and includes me. For some reason the lurking feeling of being lost in the sauce because I'm not on a man's arm overtook me at the concert and fireworks show. Went from enjoying time with my family to suddenly feeling like a 5th wheel. In my head I could justify a million things to blame it on, feeling swamped in memories I had a plethora of excuses. The real lesson amidst the smoke is learning to wait patiently and apply the same discipline I do to my running to the rest of my life.

Now don't get me wrong, I know God is in control etc. Jeremiah 29:11 puts it this way, "I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." If this was simply a lesson of intellect, of the mind, I would have it down by now, but it isn't, it is a lesson of the heart. Since it isn't something that fits neatly in a box in my mind it has aspects that touch a multitude of parts of my life right now. Rejoicing with friends as they get engaged and married, giving and serving when it feels like it goes unnoticed, having the discipline to sit at Jesus' feet and wait (I'm not good at sitting, or waiting for that matter). The last one is the biggest it seems. It is extremely tempting to just be the rebel my flesh wants me to be, to just give in to things that are less than ideal because they are immediate, instead of waiting and being on my own for a while longer. It isn't for lack of knowing there is someone out there, for a while it has felt like I've caught a glimpse here or there, but yet God has kept it just out of reach, and for that I am thankful. Just like in healing from my latest running injury I am still healing from my last relationship and in that time other muscles are being worked, parts of my life and relationship with Christ are being strengthened and stretched. Now that doesn't mean I necessarily like the idea, but I wouldn't trade the outcome for the world. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 sums it up nicely, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but  I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified."

"Teach me the struggle of the soul to bear,
to check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh;
teach me the patience of unanswered prayer."

Sunday, June 23, 2013

It's A New Day Dawning...

     "Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most."

 As I sit here tonight this line just keeps repeating through my head. I saw it on a running website and it has somehow shaken everything up everything I do. Somehow it has made me question every decision, every word that comes out of my mouth, and it has left me feeling quite unsettled about many things.

I have questioned my definition of virtue. I have questioned what I want in a man. I have questioned my discipline in my finances, my discipline in my relationship with God. I have found myself wrestling with James 1:5-8, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." In the mud and confusion of what is right and what I really do or don't want I feel like the double minded man. The person who wants one thing and yet my actions don't follow through more than 50% of the time.

I don't want to be double minded, I don't want to "Know what is right and not do it" like it says in James 4:17. The man who knows what is right and doesn't do it, to him it is sin. If what is right is what comes from God (James 1:16-17 "Do not be deceived my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift cometh down from the father of lights, with whom there is no variance nor shadow of turning.") then that is what I want to pursue. Yet I keep finding myself distracted by the mediocre in the present instead of staying focused on the excellent in the future.

Right now I just continue to thank God for His brand new mercies every morning. Working on making decisions is a lot like running, the hardest step is the first, and it isn't the first on just the first day, but the first step every single day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Could I Make That Sacrifice?

These past few weeks God has been working on my heart and showing me how much He loves me through the lessons of what true love really looks like and what it really requires. Now I know it has been quite a while since I wrote last, so let me start somewhere towards the beginning.

Back in October I met a young man at Bible study by the name of Evan. For the next few weeks we got to know each other through church, Bible study and game nights and friends’ houses. Through a series of events around Thanksgiving time we both came to the realization that there was mutual interest and on Thanksgiving Day he asked me to be his girl. Over the past few months we have done the normal things dating couples do, gone to movies, out to dinner, hung out with friends, ya know, the normal dating stuff, but that all suddenly changed a couple of weeks ago.

On Sunday February 3rd he started to break out in a miserable rash and by Tuesday night he was running a high fever. After two days of him getting progressively worse I took him into the Emergency Room. After 3 hours in the ER we were sent home with prescriptions for antibiotics and still no answer as to what he has. For the next week almost all of my time that wasn’t spent at work was spent at his place, bringing him food he could swallow without irritating the sores that were now lining his mouth and medications to help bring down his fever and ease the discomfort. Hours were spent keeping him company where all I could do was sit across the room from him and watch tv, I desperately wanted to give him a hug, but with not knowing what he has or how contagious it is I couldn’t touch him.

Now, a week may not sound like much to some, but for me it was a lesson in sacrificial love. A lesson in giving of myself in many forms with what felt like zero in return. For many of those days I felt very alone even though he was right there, I couldn’t sit next to him and the sore were so painful in his mouth that he could hardly talk at times. At about day four I had to talk myself into going because I wanted to do something that would give me pleasure instead of spending the day sitting in the same old chair doing the same thing for another day. It was then, in that moment, that God started to really teach me what it means to really love someone.

As I sat in that blue chair that felt like it had become my permanent station He spoke to my heart and asked if I understood the love He has for me. If after just a simple week of giving my time, finances and energy if I had a better perspective on the love He has for me where He sent His son to die for me. When my loneliness almost consumed me that day He reminded me of Jesus crying out to the Father “Why have you forsaken me?” as He hung on the cross. Jesus came and gave his life and endured loneliness like I will never understand out of His love for me before I even existed! Even though I continue to sin and break his heart, even though I don’t appreciate His sacrifice as I should, He still loves me. He gave Himself for me while I was still a sinner. How minute that makes my struggle seem! Yet, through that struggle I’m learning how to love those closest to me with that same sacrificial love of giving and serving without expecting anything in return.

Is Evan still sick? Yes. It has now been 2 weeks with him allowed to do very little over the past week. But that is ok, two weeks is minute in the perspective of eternity.