Monday, May 21, 2012

Lessons Learned

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

I have been so pumped to write this post. I have come so far in this year, and I am thankful for every trial, bump in the road and joyful moment experienced. I could not have done it without our Lord, my amazing family and friends. I figured the best way to sum everything up is in a list. Mostly because I love lists. Haha

Life Lessons Learned :)
  1. My God is an AWESOME God!
I feel like I have should have always known this. It wasn't until that I was pushed into the middle of the storm that I got to experience it fully. I think that it how it happens to a lot of us. I always knew Christ, but it took some of the most important things in my life to be taken from me to KNOW Christ. Funny how that works. He proved to me that I can get through anything through Him. He is my shelter, stronghold, protector, and my Savior. Many of my other lessons are based on what I have learned through Him. He has changed my heart, and I am the most alive when I am submerged in His work.

    2.  Forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were

Anyone can hold a grudge, but it takes a person with character to forgive. When you forgive, you release yourself from a painful burden. Forgiveness doesn't mean what happened was OK, and it doesn't mean that person should still be welcome in your life. It just means you have made peace with the pain, and are ready to let it go.

I am generally a forgiving person. Some people think it is a weakness. I prefer to call it a strength, and a very humbling experience. Forgiveness sets you free from the chains that the person who hurt you, put you in. Forgiveness is hard though. Sometimes it feels like defeat, like you are giving in to that person. In reality, forgiveness is sweet. Forgiveness means you move on and that person is usually stuck with the guilt or shame of what they did. True forgiveness means not wanting them to feel that way. That is where I am now.

It has been a difficult journey, but I am thankful for all that has happen. I am the independent, strong-willed, young lady I am now because of it. I know my true friends, and most importantly my Father better than ever thanks to past events.

     3.  I don't play hard to get...I am hard to get

I am seriously questioning if boys ever change into men. This could be a whole post within itself due to my previous experiences. Here is some tips guys:

  • If you have a girlfriend, you should feel like a big fat loser when you hit on me. This is my ultimate pet peeve. In high school, I would have been all over it. I also was 16, and relationships didn't involve, pregnancy or marriage. The older you get, the more dumb you look when you do this. No, you aren't super cool when you call me while your girlfriend is asleep or at work or in another city. Then lie about it to her. No, I don't trust you when you say that you would never do this to me if we dated. And no, you don't impress me by talking trash about your girlfriend to me. Here is a hint: grow up, decide if you want to be with her. If you have done any of the above items, I am guessing the answer is no. Do everyone a favor and break up with her. You have no commitment to her, unless y'all are married or pregnant. It might hurt her now, but it will hurt her worse if you wait it out and somehow convince her that your scumbag self is "in love" with her. I believe people can change their ways, but they must want to change. The truth will come out, it always does. Just ask a few of my exes...Side note: If you are married, take some time to solve this issue you have. Marriage is a very serious commitment and is worth fighting for.
  • I am not a piece of meat, nor is any woman. If you want a respectable girl, treat her with respect. I know a lot of guys who want the ideal woman to bring home to momma, yet they aren't the ideal man to bring home to daddy. Y'all look for these girls in all the wrong places, because you most likely hang out in all the wrong places. Most parents don't expect a lot, they just expect respect. Here are a few hints: Remember guys chivalry is always the right way to go. Take the time to go to the door, don't honk like the girl is a dog, especially if her parents are around. A girl with high standards, will require that of the guy as well. I don't have impossible standards, but I respect myself. Therefore, I wouldn't waste my time with anyone who didn't respect me or themselves. Remember that ladies, you are the one who controls how you are treated. If your boyfriend is being an idiot, to be said nicely, don't stay with him. You will find someone who loves and respects you. Show yourself some self love! Don't ever let a man tell you that you aren't worth pursing. For God became man, died and rose again just to pursue you. You are worth pursing. You are beautiful. You are loved.
      4.  Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Phil 4:6-7  

I know this may sound crazy to those who don't believe in prayer, but I pray about everything. Head is hurting, I pray on it. Work out is getting a little tough, pray. It begins to rain really hard while I am driving, I pray. The most important part of prayer that I recently learned, is just thanking and praising God for who He is. I must admit, I am still terrible at praying at night. I am prone to falling asleep mid prayer. I have more conversations with God than anything. I have shouted at Him, pleaded and cried to Him. He knows our heart and thoughts, yet praying is the direct line we have to Him that is always open. You can do it anytime you need to talk. I like to pretend He is an old friend, who has been there through it all with me. This is an easy thing to do since He really has been. I know prayers don't always get answered the way we want them to. His plan and why He answers the way He does can be a mystery to us, which brings me to my final lesson...                                    

     5.  Faith in God includes faith in His timing

By far this is the hardest lesson I have learned. As you might have read in previous posts, I am a planner. When I plan, I generally have a high success rate. All which I have accredited to myself in the past. In hindsight, I see that everything is in His grand plan. If my plan would have gone accordingly, I would not be sitting here as the person I am today. Every struggle has made me stronger, every wrong path has led to something God has planned for me. There is a reason I was blessed with a job across the street from my church. A reason that He lead my heart to helping out with the youth there. A reason that every young person, and adult within that group is in my life. A reason my childhood friend Kelly came up with the great idea to start a Monday night Bible study for girls who might not get the teaching elsewhere. A reason that I was praying and questioning my calling, just to hear a sermon confirming it. There is nothing more amazing and exhilarating than the path God has planned for me...

I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes
To sweep me off my feet
It ought to be
More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out
Come take a look at me nowIts like I'm falling, oh
Its like I'm falling in love...with Christ :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Familiar Pain

God I'm crying out tonight
'Cause I've given You my life
But I'm tired and I'm missing what's behind
So once more here's my life

I can promise you that this post was suppose be about how much my life has changed from a year ago. A year ago when I graduated, moved home and began this journey. A year of sadness, but most importantly happiness. Over-whelming happiness, joy and my path to Him.

I am angry right now though. Angry at death, angry at sickness, angry at why this is happening. I know it is OK to be angry at Him. We don't understand His timing or why bad things happen. So tonight, I am going to vent...

A year ago, on May 28th, my Papaw went to heaven. He was 93, and had Alzheimer's. He had no idea who his family was, he had no idea who he was. He was just a shell of who he used to be. I videoed him for my senior project, A documentary on Alzheimer's. I haven't even been able to watch it since he passed. It makes me sick to look at how sick he was. It was almost peaceful when he passed because we all knew he was at rest and with our Lord.

I say almost, because it is still difficult for us. As any of y'all know, losing someone is heart breaking. I know my Mamaw's heart still aches daily for the man she dedicated her life to.

A year later, my other grandpa is now in the hospital. He has been in and out for awhile now, but this is the worst. He went in with pneumonia and they thought they cured it. They sent him to a nursing home to do rehab. He also has a breathing condition, that makes him very short of breath and need oxygen. My Papaw had something very similar. A few days ago he was readmitted to the hospital, with pneumonia. The doctors told him that they can get rid of the pneumonia, but there isn't anymore they can do about his breathing condition.

There isn't anything more they can do...probably some of the worst words you can hear.

Don't get me wrong, I am SO blessed. I have had the privilege to know all of my grandparents. I have the privilege of getting to hug my mom and dad each day. I know others my age do not get that.

I just would give anything to make this different. Anything for my grandma to have her husband, for my dad to have his dad and for my grandpa get to met a grandchild somewhere down the road.  

The worst part of it all is that he is in Florida, and I haven't seen him in a year. He doesn't talk on the phone long, and all I want is just to hug him. I wish I could be there for him and my grandma. It is all so frustrating...

Unfortunately, death and heartbreak is a part of this world and none of us are immune to it. As a Christian I know that while we suffer here, HE has conquered the world. Through this, though I am angry, I still choose Him. I know He will never give me more than I can handle. As a precautionary note though, I feel like April and May are pretty set from years past. I would prefer June not to follow the trend...

Please pray for my grandpa, grandpa and family.

On the day that You called my name
All that I knew changed
I found when I said yes that I'd never be the same
Though the call is hard

You are worth it all

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What is your god?

Work, money, television, beauty, music, school, a celebrity, grades, partying, fishing, alcohol, the opposite sex, sports, your friends... What or who runs your life? What are you obsessed with? What are you making your god?

These are questions that I have been pondering the past few weeks, and especially today. We have the free will in our life to choose how we live it, and we must make that choice wisely.

In high school, money and beauty was my god. To me, money was the way to happiness. It was the way to be able to buy cool clothes and afford the things I wanted. And believe me, I wanted A LOT! I would make a list of things I wanted to buy each week. Mostly clothes, swim suits, shoes and purses. Money apparently bought my happiness, but I was never happy enough.

So in college, I turned to school. I was broke as it gets because all that money I made in high school was spent. I put all my effort into school and grades. I made little to no time for anything but that and work.

Over those years, different things became my god periodically. Whether it was the opposite sex, partying or work. I rarely if ever made any real time for HIM.

I wish I could go back and say I did. I wish I could say that He was at the fore front of my actions and thoughts like many of the teens in the youth group I volunteer with. The truth is that He wasn't. He was maybe in my top 10 on a good day. The older I got, the closer He moved up to the top.

I realize this now. I realize why He is number 1 in my life. It is actually quite simple: everything else fades.

I do not own one cent from the money I earned in high school. None of the guys I have previously dated are still major parts of my life. College is done and gone with. I don't even remember most of the classes and grades I made. The parties have stopped and the jobs I had offer nothing to me now. None of these things can hold an everlasting happiness and rock. Nothing but the love of Jesus...

He is forever. His work never fades. That is the most powerful thing to me.

I am not condemning us who enjoy some of these things. I am not saying that sports, fishing and loving your other half is bad. These things are good, even great. It is when we make these things our life. It is when we live only to work. When we believe money does buy happiness.

It is not completely our fault. Our society today says to be self-reliant. It says you make your own destiny and that money is the way to all things. We lust and have idols, we make these items our god. I truly believe you can take that obsession and turn it into the glory of God. If you love money, donate some to your church or charity. If you love sports or fishing, you can easily turn this into an event to mentor those younger than you. You can take almost anything you have been through in your life and use it for the glory of God. After all, He made you.

It might help for those of us to realize that nothing here goes on with us when we meet our Creator. Your mansion, 5 cars and money in the bank stays here. Your good works though go with us. More importantly, the impact you made on others stays with them. Make that impact a memorable one. Live for Jesus, others, then yourself (JOY) :)

Another thing I want to make a quick note of, you are not unreachable. You are never so far gone that He will turn away from you...

Come to the waters,
you who thirst and you'll thirst no more.
Come to the father,
you who work and you'll work no more.
And all you who labor in vain and to the broken and shamed:
Love is here. Love is now...