It’s (not) all about me.

I had written a post on some of these thoughts already, that was waiting in my drafts before I hit publish. And then Davi said it so much better, and I got to thinking about it again.

It should be such an easy thing. We know that it’s worth it to seek the Kingdom of God first. We know what is and what isn’t important in light of eternity.

And yet, I don’t know about you… but I so often find myself choosing the lesser. The now. The easy, the “me,” the one that satisfies my flesh.

Instead of saying no. Instead of pursuing something higher. Instead of setting myself apart, putting my foot down, and choosing eternal things.

I choose 90 minutes of Hollywood. I spend money on things that I think will make me into the version of myself that I think I want to be. I worry that the sweater I lent to my sister will come back with a hole in it. I agonize over things I can’t change. I set my desires on things that I’m not even convinced God wants for me.

I wonder how that must look and feel to our Heavenly Father. Humor me, will you?

He’s sitting on His throne, surrounded by storehouses full of good gifts. There are so many that they’re spilling out- they’re everywhere. (But in an orderly way, of course. He’s not a God of disorder or chaos, we all know that.)

And He sees me. He smiles, and says, “Child. I love you.” And He reaches down and picks up this gift of peace. His smile widens, and He holds it out. This is exactly what she needs. 

And there I am. My back is turned, my head is in my hands, and I’m worrying over something that’s too big for me to carry. Something that He already has the solution to, it’s just not the right time to hand me that answer. That gift. I choose the worry.

Here’s another one. I’m exhausted. It’s been a long day, and tomorrow and the next day are going to be even longer, busier, and more stressful. I’m worn out, and I’m empty.

And He sees me. He smiles, and says, “Child. I love you. Come sit here next to Me, and let me minister to your soul. Let My love, and My presence wash over you and restore you. Tomorrow isn’t going to be that bad, let Me tell you why.” And He pats His knee, the way you would to coax a little child to come and sit on your lap.

Instead, my exhausted self sits on the couch to catch up on the TV shows I’ve missed; wanting to block out the stress of the day past and the ones to come. And when the screen is quiet an hour or two later, the stress and the worry are still there. If anything, they’re more overwhelming. And His countenance, as He watches me, is sad.

One more and I’ll wrap this up, I promise.

I’m restless. My life isn’t what I expected it would be at this point, and I’m looking for fulfillment. He gets a sparkle in His eye, and He tries to catch my attention. “Daughter, I have an idea. Remember how I’ve provided you with an income that more than supplies for your needs? I mean, you’re not always the wisest with it, but I know you try, and I’ve seen improvements lately. Except for ______. You probably shouldn’t have bought that with My money. But I digress (because I’m God, and I’m allowed). Child, look. Do you see that need?” And He gently turns my head to look upon the face of another one that He loves so much. “I could open up all of Heaven, and shower down gifts upon them, but I have another idea. What if we surprised them by having you meet their need? Wouldn’t that be great?! They’ll be so blessed, and just think of how you’ll feel when you use My money that I’ve given you to help them. And look- here’s a special gift of joy that you’ll receive in return if you help Me with this project. Daughter?”

Instead of having my heart tuned to the voice of my Heavenly Father, my mind wanders. If I purchase this, or look like that, and have this gadget… then I’ll be who I think I want to be. If I fit this particular societal mold for someone of my age and position, surely then I’ll be fulfilled. (Conforming to this world, anyone?) And I pass up this incredible opportunity to be a co-conspirator with the God of the Universe in blessing someone we both care about, choosing instead to find my own way to fulfillment.

I don’t want to ignore His gifts any longer.

I know it’s not going to happen over night, but I’m planting my stake in the ground right here. I’m making this an open declaration, to make myself accountable. I’m probably going to continue to hear the Holy Spirit whisper an “oops.” to my spirit as I make mistakes, and that’s ok. He doesn’t demand that we get it perfectly right on the first try. He made me. He knows my shortcomings, and He’s willing to work with me on them. And I know that as I make choices to course-correct in these areas, a lot of other things are going to fall into place. Because, Matthew 6:33 people. That’s the bottom line here.

It’s not about me. It’s about my eternity.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. ~Matthew 6:33

My story.

We all have hurts in our pasts.

Scars, struggles, stains…

Some more than others, but we can never really tell from the outside, can we?

So, this is a story about a girl who had her share. Not more than her share, because God knew what she could handle.

Just her share.

She left it in her past and set her eyes on Jesus, but it was still there. Lingering in the background; always.

Until one day, there was a confrontation with Truth.

 

Are you addicted to the story?

 

The answer was a begrudging yes.

If I let go of this hurt, I’ll still be broken but I won’t have an excuse.

If I choose to release this person, I’ll have nothing/no one to blame.

Even though I had gone through the process of “forgiveness,” and even though I had prayed for and received a great measure of healing, I was still holding onto “the story.” I was, as the question so glaringly presented it, “addicted to” the story.

So I’ve been in detox. Rejecting the thoughts and excuses, replacing them with truth.

But it’s my testimony. If I let it go, what will I have to share?

Grace.

A girl who was hurt, isn’t hurt any longer.

The girl who carried baggage has a spring in her step from knowing true freedom and joy.

Redemption wins.

I think I can safely say that I’ve reached the point where I Thessalonians 5:18 is beginning to ring true in my life. I was told it was possible, but to be honest… I’m not sure I ever fully believed it.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

And reading this verse again, I see it. It’s not just God’s will for us to be thankful, but it’s God’s will that we face these circumstances (*unless we’ve come into them through rebellion or disobedience, of course).

He knows that there will be pain involved. He knows that the circumstances are far from easy.

But the reward He desires for us requires that we identify with His sufferings. He knows exactly how much we can handle by His grace, and He knows what richness lies in store for those who overcome. 

These things… I would have never chosen them for myself. Or anyone- not even my worst enemy, if I had one. But if I hadn’t walked through it, I wouldn’t know Him as I do. I wouldn’t be the person I now am by His grace. And I wouldn’t have the experience of His grace in the way that I’ve known it.

I want to become addicted to a new story. His story. The story of His grace and redemption at work inside the heart of this girl.

It’s not my testimony, though, it’s His. I’ll gratefully share it as He provides the opportunity, but it’s not mine to own.

So that’s my story. A girl who was rejected and redeemed, scarred and sought after, hurt and healed.

Grateful for grace.

His story.

Letting go.

 

Is there such a thing as intentionally losing control?

I think that’s what I’m supposed to be learning these days.

To hold people, things, and situations with an open hand.

To maintain my peace in the midst of changes and challenges.

To replace insecurities with hope.

 

May not sound like much, but big things are happening over here, folks.

 

Feel the silence
There’s war beneath our skin
Let it begin
It’s hard to fight
It’s hard to lead resistance
It’s our hearts we’re up against

This world it keeps us
Promising freedom
We thought we could belong
But we don’t belong here
Don’t let us wander
To arms of another
Oh father, yours forever
Let us be a hostage of peace

 

Looking Ahead…

 

…To big changes.

…To building community.

…To learning how to be real when it counts.

…To being adventurous.

…To learning grace.

…To authenticity.

…To being intentional.

…To victory.

…To surrender.

…To growth.

…To more.

Praying to see these things in my life as I enter my 24th year… and more!

So thankful for where He has brought me from, and where He is continuing to lead me. 

On my heart today.

When I sat down to write this post, I really didn’t know that this is what it would turn into. However, the process was therapeutic in a way I wasn’t expecting, and after a good deal of internal debate, I have decided that I will go ahead and share it.

I guess you could say that the following is an “open letter” of sorts. It is written to a dear one who is currently at the top of my daily prayer list.

When you love someone the way I love you, it’s impossible to not be affected by their life choices; impossible to not feel pain as you watch them travel down a road that will bring so much sorrow.

It’s hard to keep from asking myself, “if I had done this or that differently, could this have been prevented?” Because I know the answer.

But if you would let me sit down with you, and have a heart-to-heart like we sometimes used to, there are a few things I would like to share.

I will always have your back. While I’m not happy about a lot of your choices these days, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t drop everything or get out of bed in the middle of the night to be there for you. I want you to succeed, and I will always support your efforts. You’re going to go places, kid. And  I hope you let me come along.

I love you. That will never change. Even when it may seem like I don’t, because it’s not always the kind of love you’re looking for. But I do. My heart aches when I see you where you are, and if I could move these mountains for you, I would.

Because you were/are worth it. I think this might be where you start having trouble believing me, but it’s true. You are beautiful, intelligent, and funny in ways that I could only hope to be. You have such a special, big, loving heart, and you always reach out to those ones who are isolated and lost; showing love and caring in that way that only you can. Probably because you feel like you’ve been there too.

But even if you didn’t have all of these amazing things going for you, you would still be worth it. Your life has meaning, sweetheart. Don’t discount or throw away the amazing calling that God has placed on your life.

You’re worth it. Do know why? He created you. He formed every part, added every quirk and gifting, and made something so so so beautiful. He knows you. Every little thing. Where you’ve been, where you are, and where you will be. And He wants to be allowed to influence that future. Because, dear one- He paid the price for it. He looked into the future, saw your sweet hungry eyes longing for love and acceptance and worth, and He gave it. He sacrificed everything to provide the love and acceptance and worth that you’re seeking for in the wrong places; the places that will never fully satisfy.

There’s more I could say. There’s always more. But for today I’m going to let this be enough.

I hope you can hear my heart… and I hope you can hear His.

I love you, Sunshine.

Sisters.

Merry Christmas!

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From me and mine, to you and yours… Merry Christmas 🙂

May this season be blessed as you celebrate the Saviour, and enjoy the closeness of family and friends. Praying for moments of peace and joy in the midst of the hustle and bustle!

As for me, I’m on my way home for Christmas. This train is doing its best to rock me to sleep, but the Christmas lights passing by my window, and the excitement of seeing my family on the other end are keeping me wide awake 🙂

Be blessed, friends!

‘Tis the Season…

I love Christmas.

I love everything about it: the music, the lights, decorations, goodies, giving gifts, seeing friends and family, and celebrating the birth of our Saviour.

But then it got stressful.

I don’t know how or why, but this week has taken Christmas from pure enjoyment, to plain craziness, and I hate that feeling.

There are two more Christmas parades to participate in for work. The last two… out of six. Thank God that after this weekend I won’t have to worry about those! As much fun as they are, those are weekday evenings and weekend mornings/afternoons that are leaving me running around, instead of catching my breath.

The list of church commitments is growing. It’s normal for me to be a part of our instrumental ensemble each year, but this year I’m also involved in the vocal ensemble. And as a Sunday School teacher, my class has to prepare a presentation. So there are practices, and performances, and nursing home visits. All good stuff, but right now… it’s just adding.

And the shopping. I love giving gifts- it’s one of my favourite parts of Christmas. And this year, I was all about being pro-active; planning ahead, starting early, and buying a lot online. But now, one of the things I was most excited about, the gift that my sister and I were planning to give our younger siblings, has fallen through. Not only is that fairly disappointing, but we’re left scrambling at the last minute.

Then there’s the family. My dad was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday evening after having a minor (very minor) stroke. It’s nothing super serious at this point, just a wake-up call for his doctors that they need to re-evaluate the medications he’s on for managing some other health issues. But of course, it adds stress and worry.

I hate that the season feels this way for me right now.

But then last night I led the time of worship for our small group. And at the end, as I was praying to close, I was so humbled again by the thought of Jesus coming to earth in such a lowly way. He was the epitome of humility, and yet He was the Son of God, who would rend the veil and allow us communion with our God and Saviour. That’s what I want Christmas to be about for me. I don’t want to complain, I don’t want to stress… I just want to revel in the glory and mercy of God.

Easier said than done, yes. However, that’s the meditation that I want to fill my heart.

Not how stressful the season is.

But that HE is.

Silence.

I rushed out the back door of my building and headed towards my car.

Another morning spent hurriedly preparing for the day.

I got in, tossed my bags onto the passenger seat, and turned the key into the ignition. After shifting my car into gear, I reached to turn on the radio.

News? Or Christmas music? Definitely the music.

But before my finger made contact with the power button, my hand stilled.

Just be still. For these all-too-short minutes, listen to the One who covets your heart.

And so I did.

Those next fifteen minutes, I allowed myself to rest in communion and prayer as I headed towards my busy day.

Then at the end of the day, when I was ready to head home, it stayed quiet.

And He spoke to my heart. I was encouraged, and strengthened, and reminded of how He is working in my life to bring honour and glory to His name.

I don’t think the radio has been on since.

🙂

In whatsoever state I am…

I told someone the other day that I am perfectly content for my life to be where it is right now.

Afterwards I wondered. Am I? Really truly?

Certainly, I think that would be true in the overall big-picture. I love my job, I love where I live, and I have a comfortable schedule with too much time to myself.

I know where I fit.

But in light of the area of my life that this person was pointing at, am I content? Or am I hiding?

Would I actually be ready for the change if it knocked on my door tomorrow?

Learning Curve.

I really thought this blogging thing would be easier.

I thought that without the pressure of being known, I could be real.

But for some reason, I’m still hitting against that same brick wall, the one that has held me captive inside myself for pretty much my whole life.

So I begin to write, I get frustrated, and I give up; telling myself I’ll come back to it later and make it work.

But I just can’t seem to find my voice.

I’m not quite sure why.

Sometimes I feel things so, so, so deeply. And then other times, I know there should be an impact but it seems like there’s not even a blip on the radar.

I really don’t know why.

I’m someone who needs things to have a happy ending, to leave off on a positive note. Maybe that’s part of the issue? I can’t open myself up and be real without “fixing myself” by the end of it.

So for today, I’m not going to “fix it.”

I can’t find my voice.

I’m not always open to feeling the move of the Holy Spirit.

And today, I can’t fix those things on my own.

Lord, I need Your help. If you want me to speak for You, to have an influence for You, then it has to be through Your strength. Father, I need Your grace to step back and allow You to work through my failures. I need Your peace when I admit that I can’t do it on my own, that I’m not perfect, and that there are still so many messes in my life. Lord, help me to understand that You love me here in the place that I am in, that Your love isn’t waiting for me to become perfect.