Monday, October 28, 2013

"Hey Girl, This May Seem Like a Great Idea..."

I used to believe that I only needed prayer for certain areas in my life.  For certain big events that were happening or for great opportunities that I had been presented with.  "God, can I please have this job?  God can you reveal if this relationship is idea?  God, will you please heal my dying grandmother?"  The big things in life.  That's all I prayed for.

As I continue to grow in my faith, the learning never ceases, which is a really awesome thing.  One thing I've really learned about myself within the last few years is how EXCITED I GET ABOUT THINGS.  (Did that get my point across?)  I'm very passionate and I try my hardest to see good in all situations and the phrase, "don't get your hopes up," never applies to me because before you can even get those words out of your mouth my hopes have already taken their own rocket to the dang moon.  This is how God made me.  Denying it is difficult.

In learning and comprehending this about myself I know that I have to be careful with my reactions to ideas.  More times than not, when someone presents an idea/plan/situation/course of action to me that sounds awesome one can often hear me saying, "heck yea that sounds like a great plan, let's go for it, no matter what the details are now, let's just go for it and it's going to be great and we'll have no regrets and aldkhfgaldgjalkdsfjasd."  THEN, a few days later, after I've processed and prayed (of course praying is usually the last thing I do, because I'm still learning and growing), the realization hits me.  The realization of, "hey girl this may seem like a great idea, and maybe it actually IS a great idea...but it's not a great idea for YOU."  (That's how God talks to you too, right?)  Then I have to go back to whomever I have excited with my excitement and be like, "oh hey, I'm sorry I got so excited...let's talk about this rationally."  Not always fun.

God is continually revealing things to me.  Lately, he continues to reveal to me to seek HIS counseling for all of my decisions.  It's so funny that I am constantly asking my friends and family what they think, which of course is normal, but not actually praying about the situation until much later.  I should be praying about it first, asking friends and family second.  We all should.  We should pray to the one that CREATED us the exact way we are and ask HIM what HE desires us to do.  It's really a very simple concept.  It's a very simple task, yet we make it much harder.  Why is it so hard?  Probably because we are impatient and we want instant gratification and the Lord does not always grant us that so we search other places first.  But he does always listen.  And he always reveals what we need to know.  Just in his own time.  We have to get more comfortable with HIS time and forget about our own.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
-Philippians 4:6

Sunday, October 13, 2013

I Just Find Myself Constantly Praying.

It's true that once Jesus enters your heart, you are never the same again.  Your perspective is never the same, your thoughts are never the same, your desires are never the same.  It is not because you have changed yourself; it is because the Lord has changed you.  The Holy Spirit has crept into your soul and now constantly works through you.

He is working through us at work, at home, out with friends, driving in the car.  Constantly.  Constantly are we to walk through this world loving like Jesus loved.  We are not just to love like Jesus on Sundays, or on Wednesday nights, or when we are hanging out with our "Christian" friends.  Always.  Every moment is a moment to minister.  To love others the way the Lord loves us.

I know these things to be facts; I have felt them strongly since my walk with God started my sophomore years of college, and the strongest of all in the past year of my life.  I find myself praying for people more than I ever have before.  Not just people I know, but strangers...random people walking down the street.  I find myself praying for the exhausted mom and her screaming toddler, instead of immediately getting annoyed.  I find myself praying for the homeless man pushing his shopping cart down the side of the street.

I just find myself constantly praying.

Constantly communicating with God.  Telling him ALL THE TIME how I feel about certain things.  Even though I know the Lord is constantly with us and knows our thoughts before we even think them, I believe He likes to hear from us.  Just as any other person we have a relationship with likes to hear from us, so does God.  I find such peace in these thoughts.

I wonder if many of you want to know why I talk and write about God so much.  I realize that not everyone may have as strong of a relationship with Jesus as I feel like I do, and that it may seem confusing or bizarre that it is all I want to blog about.  The Lord has a grip on me that is so tight and so comforting that it's all I want to talk about.  I love to talk about how I see Him working in my life and how he is working in the lives of the ones I love.  I love to try to explain how, last year, when I was facing one of the hardest decisions I had ever faced, He was the only one that I wanted to talk to.  I found myself clinging to Him through prayer and journaling, begging for Him to show me what to do.  And He did.  It was not easy, but it was so worth it.  It was worth everything I've been through in the past year.  I love to look back on my life and see how his hand was intervening, pushing me this way and that way.  I feel an unexplainable peace when I think of all He's done for me.  And I hope you will, too, if you're not there yet.

When Jesus enters your heart, you're never, ever the same.  The Holy Spirit is supernatural and supernatural things begin to happen.

It's freaking cool.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hold Me Accountable, Please. It's About to Get Real.

And here we are on another 10th, meaning that we are about to face another 11th.  October 11th, will now mark 10 months that sweet Richard left us.

I can't remember if I have ever told y'all about the time he bought me Sweet 'N' Low?  I drink my coffee with just a bit of Sweet 'N' Low, and after hanging out for a couple of weeks or so, and after drinking a lot of coffee together, Richard picked up on that and bought me a box of it to keep at his house to accompany my cups of coffee with him.  It made me swoon.  Such a small, sincere considerate action.

It made me swoon.

Every month on the 11th I am forced to look back at why the 11th is even important to me; the tragic event of losing someone you love; the joyful event of having someone you love go home to be with the Lord.  So many emotions and feelings.  I think back to how in shock I was.  How hours after it happened, Ashley took me to Panera Bread to get food; food that I knew I wouldn't eat, but knew I needed to get in my possession.  I remember just standing in line like everyone else, waiting to order.  Just waiting like nothing had just happened.  Standing there as if I had not just lost my best friend.  I look back at that time now and almost scoff when I revisit the memory.  How could I have just stood there, calm and collected?  Ordering a damn bread bowl?  "Oh hey Panera person, yes can I please have a delicious bread bowl?  What am I doing tonight, you ask?  Oh nothing, just grieving the loss of my boyfriend."

Obviously that conversation did not actually happen.  I'm being dramatic.  Of course I was in shock.  I never realized the crazy ways shock can affect a person until that night.  Until now, looking back.

I know I have written so much about the incredible journey God has led me on since I had met Rich, but there is so much I have left out.  Many personal, gritty details that I have yet to share.  But I need you to know that I have full intentions of writing our entire story out, in the format of a book.  It is one of the coolest, intense, mind-boggling stories.  It needs to be shared.  The Lord's work in our lives needs to be shared.  If it doesn't actually become a book, then at least I can say I tried.  God's work will be done regardless.

I am in the last leg of my year-long grieving process (of course I don't think that as soon as January 11th hits I will quit grieving, but you catch my drift, here) and I think this will be extremely therapeutic.

So, there.  I have said it.  In a serious manner.  Hold me accountable, please.  It's about to get real.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Someday I am Going to Lay Out All the Details for Everyone to See.

I'm so happy Fall is here.  It's my all-time favorite season.  Lately I've been finding myself daydreaming back to this time last year, when I came home from a trip I took to Boston, and found my front yard decorated for halloween.  Decorated with things I typically would not have placed in my yard, but I loved it nonetheless because sweet Richard had done it.  He donned my yard with fake tombstones, miniature skeletons and a corpse head (Hamlet, anyone?).  It was cute and made me smile.

It is fantastically amazing all the things that can happen in one year.  Am I right?  Right now, take a minute and look back on the last year of your life and think about how much has changed.  I'd venture to bet that most of you will think, "heck yea, a stinkin' lot has changed!"  Me too.

And, allow me to be honest here, I would not change a thing.  I would not change the heartbreak, the sorrow, the hollow feeling of sadness I often get when I think of that sweet boy that lost his life...none of it.  If it happened to help get me to where I am today regarding my relationship with the Lord and my trust for His plan in my life - I wouldn't ask for anything to have been any different.  This situation shaped me into who I am at this very moment; I've never been closer to God than I am at this point in my life, and of course I only hope to grow closer to Him.  And the same is true for whatever you may be going through at this moment; the Lord is using it to shape you into the person you were born to be. Lean on Him.  Trust Him.  You can tell Him you're mad and angry and that you don't understand what in the world is happening, but you still have to trust.  You just have to.  I don't know how else to tell anyone to get through anything except to trust, pray and cry.

I have learned so much in this past year from a relationship with Richard and through his death.  Someday I am going to lay all the details out for everyone to see.  It was hard, but absolutely beautiful at the same time.  I can't wait to share it all.  If I write a book, you all have to buy it, okay?


Sunday, October 6, 2013

We Are All Homeless in the Real Meaning of the Word.

Today I had the divine opportunity to worship God with the homeless.  It was one of the most calming experiences I've ever had.  My precious community group {through church} and other members of our church volunteered for the afternoon at the Manna House, a soup kitchen of sorts here in town.  On Saturdays, in addition to serving lunch, they also offer an outdoor church service where members of various churches in town come in, lead worship and preach God's word.  What a beautiful vision of heaven this was.  People of different ages, races, socioeconomic backgrounds all came together to worship the same God.  I watched as people came out of nowhere, it seems, once the worship music started playing.  They came to sing to the God that created them.

I found myself closing my eyes often and taking in the smells around me, feeling the sun on my face, not caring for once if I got sunburnt {I fry like a piece of bacon, you know.  That's what happens when you're pale}.  The smell of fresh air, food and cigarette smoke mixed together and created a calm settling in my heart.  It made me think of Richard, the precious boy with the beautiful heart that I loved, that used to smoke a little more than I wanted him to.  Looking back I wish I would not have tried to fight that battle with him, realizing now that it was so unimportant.   Never in my life would I have thought that the smell of smoke would be comforting to me; but today it was.  I am sure the fresh air and the Lord's name on my lips as I sang helped as well.  Hearing that our sufferings as Christians are not misplaced and they are not meant to go unnoticed; that they happen for a reason.  Our God does not make these sufferings happen, but He's ready for us when they do happen.  He's ready to comfort us, pull us through, wrap us up tightly in His arms...but we have to remember to let Him do these things.

Today was yet another glorious reminder that this is not our home, we are all homeless in the real meaning of the word, we are all looking toward home, toward the place we were meant to be for the rest of our lives.  Today was a comfort as I felt the presence of God all around me and the sweet memories of Rich floating in and out of my mind.  Today was a day I will remember and am grateful that I got to experience.

Today was a great day.