Monday, January 23, 2012

My Heavenly Father

Collisions 3:21 "Fathers, do not embitter your children, lest they become discouraged."

My Typical Sunday: Get up, get dressed, leave for church, sit in pew, sing songs, listen to preacher, retain some of the information (Optional). Sounds pretty simple right? Well, there's no such thing as a "typical Sunday" when you're a follower of Christ. God always does this crazy thing where nothing goes the way you plan on it going. So, here's the crazy story of God working in me today.

For the past few Sundays, I've been church hopping on the weekends when I'm actually on campus. I wanted to find a church that I felt almost at home in. So, when Michelle causally mentioned that she was going to church with her roommate and Kady, I decided that I wanted to tag along to see what church they were going to. So, we all got up and dressed and left for church. I always get nervous when I go to a new church. I feel the need to run random bible verses through my head, that way if someone comes up to me, I don't give off the impression of...something. I'm not sure why I do it, it's just something I do to prepare me for the unknown. If you know me, you KNOW how uncomfortable I get in new, foreign, situations. I know that every church is different, and I just want to be as prepared as possible, JUST in case someone decides to come up and talk to me. (It never happens, but that's beside the point. It COULD happen someday...)

 Anyways, back to story. So this Church's name is Epic. I know, it's a pretty awesome name. So that eased my nervousness a little bit. As worship starts, I notice that they play really contemporary music. Which was great, I LOVED the music that they played. Announcements, Welcome, blah blah, more Music, Preacher! I know I'm not supposed to judge people based on the first 5 seconds of meeting them, but I'll be honest...sometimes I actually do. :O But, He preached an amazing message. He talked about how as Christians we need to step out of our comfort zones and act in his will, not just what we think is God's will. He said "So often in our lives we mistake what's going on in our little bubble for God's will, that we often are blind to his will taking place outside of our bubbles." It's in the wee hours of the morning and I still remember that, so you KNOW it was good. As the service was ending, I started thinking about all the things in my life that God is asking me to step out of my comfort zone and take action upon. I wrestled with this question all the way back to the college, and even through going out to lunch. It wasn't until we were going back to college after lunch that I finally had answered all the questions that I had spinning around in my head.

God has this funny way of  taking the things that I'm not exactly comfortable with, and pushing me head first right into a situation dealing with things of that nature. We rented Courageous. A movie about Fathers. TERRIFIC. That's just the type of movie I want to see after being told to step out of my comfort zone by God. (sarcasm) Although it's not the movie I wanted to see it was a movie I NEEDED to see.

That whole 'Father' not...not my Favorite thing to talk about. Who is my father? It depends on who in my family you ask, me and my brothers have a very, VERY contrasting image of who he is. Even though we were all raised in the same house, and share the same mom and dad, we all turned out so very different. I'm not sure exactly Lance's opinion on him, but Ryan and Wayne see a man who has no faults, a perfect father, and a perfect model. I wish I had the heart to tell them how wrong they are, but I can' might crush their entire world. The very first memory I have of him is anger. When he got mad, he got violent. And then, I got really good at hiding from him...most of the time. Second thing I remember about him, his sexism. There is nothing more painful than watching your brothers be showered with affection from both parents while you sit in the corner wishing with all your heart that you could be loved like they were, instead of just ignored. When I wasn't ignored, I was either being yelled at..or something much worse. Not to mention that I was told on a regular basis that I was not good enough because I wasn't a boy. Instead I was this weak little girl, who was absolutely worthless to him. My mom didn't help the situation at all either, she was too busy swooning over my little brothers to even acknowledge that I was there. I tried to be as perfect as possible but nothing I could do would ever be good enough for him, and nothing about me made him proud of me, just more angry that I was not a boy. Third thing I remember about him, Alcohol. He was a very angry, violent drunk. He would come home from work, drink, and then get angry. I remember so many nights being thrown out of the house because he would get so angry with us kids being up late and playing in our rooms. It didn't matter what time of day, or what the outside was like, we were forced to be out there. We weren't allowed to come back inside until my mom got home, usually around early morning. After we left him, he became a stalker, found out where we were staying, and tried to take us back, several times. Hence all the moving we did, trying to escape him. Eventually mom filed a restraining order, and the first time he violated it, she called the police and he was arrested for aggravated assault on one of the police officers. Shortly after that, we were taken away from mom and placed in foster care...if you're interested in THAT story and the rest of my life, come find me sometime and I'll be willing to share with you my life story and testimony. (Bring some snacks, It's about 3 hours of story.)

After being abused, watching him abuse my mom, the harassment after we left, his assault on a policeman, watching as my family was torn to shreds over this, and the entire foster care situation that followed that situation...I have so many reasons to be bitter. I know deep down in my heart, I know that I am. I'm bitter towards the absolute hatred I felt from him growing up. Nothing I did was ever good enough for him. I've spent the majority of my life living my life in a way to somehow make him proud. Nothing ever worked, it didn't matter how smart I was, what my GPA was, or what extra-curricular activities I was in. He didn't care. I know I'm still bitter because I'm hurting from all the things that he said and did, and everything he should have said and done, but didn't care enough to do. Watching Courageous today didn't help anything in the "getting over the abuse" section of my heart, instead it just made me wonder why I had to have a terrible father figure growing up. I know there was a purpose in it back then, but I could never see it. It's hard to see God's plan in the present, but you can clearly see him working in your life in your past. God was all over my past. I didn't see it though, until I came to know Christ, and looked back over my life to see how far I came and changed in my life.

I think though, my brain might have a unorthodox way of dealing with bitterness, instead of hating my father with a burning passion, shortly after coming to college, I was filled with the conviction to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with my father. Yeah, you're about as surprised as I was when God laid that sucker punch on me. So, I wrote my father a letter explaining my faith to him and why He needs to come to Jesus and realize that he's not as big and controlling as he thinks he is. Yeah, he may have been big mean and scary when I was little, but my HEAVENLY father is so much Bigger, so much Stronger, and (to be honest) so much Scarier than he will ever hope to be. I realize that now, but for the longest time, I let my fear of my father get in the way of my relationship with my heavenly father. I read somewhere (MAJOR paraphrasing Alert) that people's first impression of God is the impression that their father's had made on them. I know that sounds maybe a little inaccurate, but it was true in my life. One of the hardest things that I struggled with as I was becoming a Christian and accepting that this whole "God" thing was pretty legitimate, was the fact that I had no idea how someone who was a "Father" could love all of his children equally, and with no judgement on what they had done in their past, but loved them for who they were in the present. I had a hard time wrapping my head around the whole "unconditional love" concept. A father who loved me no matter what mistake I made, or how often I messed something up? I couldn't fathom that that type of love actually existed. How could I know what unconditional love was from a Father I had never met, if I hadn't even received conditional love from a father I spent the first six years of my life with?

The best thing about God though, even through all the crap that I've been through, I've still managed to come out as a half way normal person, even though I might be a little too weird for some. I know that My God will be here for me, no matter the circumstance, no matter how many times that I mess up, falter in my faith, doubt him, doubt myself, that is at the very nature of God's unconditional love for every single person that He has made here on Earth. For a God to love everyone on this planet equally, and without favoritism or fault, He has got to be Bigger than what we can comprehend, because we has humans can't quite grasp that whole concept completely. We can imagine unconditionally loving a few people, but loving every single person equally, and without fault? That blows my mind, I can't even imagine loving my enemies with the same love that I have for my friends and family. But I don't have too, because God knows what He is doing. God is the reason that I'm so much more "normal" than what I would have become had he not stepped into my life. To be completely honest, I have no idea who I would be, or what kind of person that I would have become in life had I NOT accepted and found my way into the arms of Jesus Christ. I'm actually kind of thankful (in a roundabout way) that my Earthly father did decide to not be a part of my life anymore, it just allows me to have a closer relationship with my Heavenly father instead. And God is capable of giving me the right amount of love, the type of love, and how I recieve love, because He's gotten good at picking up the broken, abused, and hurting people of the world and turning them into some of the most important/influential people in the word. This is why I refuse to give up hope that one day, ONE day...things will eventually start looking up again. And I know that God's in charge of all of that happening, I'm excited for reaching that place, but I'm still terrified of the journey that takes me there. But He's got a plan, and He will never abandon me. Ever. That's why I love God, so very, very much.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Taking Chances

Psalm 56:3-4
 "But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?"

I'm going to be straight up honest here, I worry. I worry A LOT. Far more than I probably ever should. I tend to over-analyze, over-think, and sometimes, I even tend to over react. I know, it's shocking. It's almost like I'm human or something ridiculously absurd like that. When I worry about something, I always  have to make sure that I have every single possible solution worked out in my head, before I even think about taking action on it. I'm not one for chances. I don't like the feeling of not knowing, the feeling of uncertainty.There's just something about not knowing the outcome of a conversation or an action that drives me absolutely bonkers. I don't like making myself vulnerable in any way, because I'm afraid of getting hurt. Woah, it's like I'm the only one who actually feels like that. Just kidding, it has to do something with being human I guess.  Although it may seem counter-intuitive, however, I do like surprises. Not knowing that I don't know something is infinitely better that knowing that I don't know something. Makes sense, right? Once I realize that I'm missing knowledge though, I try everything that I can to learn it. I love knowledge, but at the same time, I really hate that I can't let things go. There are things out there that I know I'm not ready to learn yet. I have so much to learn in life, and I'm just getting started with my life. The thought of not knowing what the future is both terrifies me and excites me all at the same time. 

So, I'm the type of person that if you want to talk personal walks, and back story, I will sit and talk back story. I love hearing other people's back stories. Although mine's not the happiest, and it has dark and twisty times, I've found that telling my story and how I ended up as a Christian really inspires people. (disclaimer: That's just what everyone tells me, so I guess it's true?) The fact that so many people face trials and tribulations of various kinds, and they still somehow manage to become a strong Christian really inspires me to become the best Christian that I possible can. Using the pain and misfortunes from my past has allowed me to build a heart of compassion for people. All the pain and bitterness that I have towards my past, I used as fuel to become the exact opposite of what the world expected me to become. I had the opportunity to share a bit of my testimony today with someone. And they asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I had told them all about my plans for becoming an alternative education teacher, and then also starting some kinda of Foster Care ministry and they asked me why I wanted to do what I want to do. A very short summary of dark back story, and then they understood. As I sat on the floor mulling over what I had said (I tend to do that a lot as well), I realized that although my past may have been filled with so much pain and hurt, it lead me to where I am today. If I had the opportunity to go back in time and change what happened, I'm not entirely sure that I would. The scars of my past have lead me to being the person that I am today. I have many insecurities about myself, and I know I value myself far less than I'm worth, but I'm changing that perspective ever so slowly. Day by day I've been trying to find something in my life that I'm confident in and I feel good about. It's going to be a long uphill battle, but I know with God, loving friends, and prayer along the way, I'll end up seeing myself for who God sees inside of  me. 

A few weak points of my faith are how much I undervalue myself, and how much I struggle giving things over to God. I know now that I mean so much to God, and he made me to be me, not who the world tries to tell me to be, but who I am deep down inside. And I know that I struggle letting things go to God. I have this stupid habit of taking everything that I'm struggling with and shouldering it all by myself. Because I'm strong enough to handle everything that Life throws my way right? Wrong, and last semester was so painfully obvious with that. I was fooling myself that I could handle falling back into the self harm and eating disorder cycle that I've been struggling to get out of since I was 12. It's been six years, and I'm still dealing with the same issues that I was back then. I can't do it without God. I keep forgetting to remember that. But, God's here for me no matter how many times I keep forgetting knowledge that I should never forget in the first place, to be replaced with knowledge that I don't need. That's one of the most amazing things about God, He loves us no matter who we are, where we've been, or how we came to be where we are now. He's bigger than any problem I'll ever face, and there will never be a question that I have that He can't answer. There's something about the intimacy of having a personal relationship with God that I can't quite get over. It's a known fact that I talk, and I talk a lot. Sometimes though, I do get tired of talking to people, and I just want to talk without the worry that I might say the wrong thing. Those are the times when I love talking to God the most. I can be so open and honest with him, and He listens, not because He doesn't know what I'm thinking and feeling, but because He cares. He'll never grow tired or weary of listening to me talk to him about little problems that I have, or the really big ones that I really need some guidance on. After I've finished talking to God, I always manage to feel better. I don't have to worry about offending him, hurting him, He's God and He's bigger than anything that I can throw at him. Hurt, Anger, Sadness, Happiness, Fear, Worry, Anxiety, the list goes on and on. He loves me so much that He listens to everything I worry about, I over-analyze, over-think, and over-react to. That's only one of the many, many, MANY reasons why He is God, and to be honest, I wouldn't want him any other way. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Year's Realizations

Ephesians 4:31-32
 "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."

I know that I haven't updated this is so long, and so much has changed. Life update: Went off to college, fell back into a cycle of self-harm, and then that brought back my issues with Bulimia. Then I got into a really bad car accident, and then that kinda flipped my life back around. Although it didn't stay like that for long, about two weeks after, I fell back into cutting, except it came back ten times stronger, and cutting just wasn't enough. I also took one of Mom's lighters and started burning myself again also. I hid it from people here on campus, and it came to the point where I couldn't hide it anymore. That was Thanksgiving break, and I ended up going to the hospital, and long story short...I've been clean for about two months. WOOT! I'm on the road to recovery. It's a hard path, and I'm taking things one day at a time. But, The most important thing is that God is guiding my every step. So I know that I will eventually get to where I know I need to be. And then, two weeks ago, We lost Amanda...I've never lost anyone that close to me before...and it hurts. I know that she's in Heaven, and not in any pain anymore. So that helps, a little bit. 

But over the last few days, I've come to realize so much about myself. I let the pain of my past control my life. There were days that the memories were so vivid, that I felt like I'm a zombie, just going through the motions. I've been shorting myself of so much life. I've always had a problem with seeing myself in a positive light. Over the last few days, I've realized that I was so wrong. I am worth something, something very important to so many people. People like me for who I am..I don't have to be perfect, I just have to be me. And I know that I am worth something to God, but I never felt like I was worth something to people. I could never believe when people told me that I was important to them. Now, I realized that I was so wrong. I  keep looking back at my past and I can't believe that I've been lying to myself for so many years. 

I just really have come to realize that I've got a lot of things to work through. I've got so many insecurities, and things that I can't believe about myself. When I've looked at my reflection, I've never seen the good qualities that people say are there, I've always seen the scars, and the weight of my past. I suppose that a lot of people might be surprised by how low my self-esteem/confidence really is. But now, I realize that the things that I believed about myself aren't true. I'm starting to see what people see in me. And God has played a HUGE part in this. He's given me so many friends here on campus, and they have been here to help me when I've fallen down. I know I have other friends, but I don't see them day to day like I do the people here. I've been asking God for a place that I feel like I belong in for so long, and I've finally found it. He's blessed me so much these last few months, even when I was putting a wall between me and him. 

But that's God, even when we fall away from him, He's still there for us when we come back. And even when we're far away from him, He never stops loving us. That's one of the most valuable part of my relationship with God. He'll be here for me whenever I need him, and even when I forget that I do. He's bigger than everything I'm going through, and sometimes I have to remind myself of that. Giving everything over to God, from the small things, to the really big things has always been my biggest struggle in my faith. Sometimes I forget that I have a God to walk beside me in life, and that I don't have to go through all my problems alone. We all have things that we struggle with in our personal walk with Christ, and He still loves us. He looks past our flaws, and He sees the perfect person we are meant to become. I could go on for hours about how great God is, but odds are, if you're actually reading this you know how great He is. 

I just wanted to share what's been going on in my life recently, to keep all the internet informed of what I've been up to. And as I look at the clock and realize that it's 3am, and I have a class at 9...I'm going to have to cut this short this time. I will try to keep this updated at least once a week. So, I look forward to having you read this again. I encourage you to remember how much God loves us, and take the time to see how He's blessed your life.

P.s. If you're not too busy, would you mind saying a quick prayer for me? As this new semester starts, I want to not go back to the person I was last semester. Thank you! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

This Is Where The Healing Begins

"But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you." Luke 6:27-28

I know that I haven't updated this in a while, because most of the learning that I have been doing..although it's been helping me out through the stuff I've been going through right now, it was something that I was doing for myself. A 'For My Eyes Only' type of thing where I could just really get down into the events that have happened to me that I'm just not comfortable sharing with the rest of the viral world. But, I've decided that it is probably a good idea to let you know where I am spiritually and I finally found enough free quiet time to fill you in.

Over the last week or so, God has really put on my heart that I need to start repairing the broken relationship that I have with my mom. We've had our moments where we have Mother-Daughter time, but those times are few and far between. And I know that our relationship could begin to heal, I know it can never go back to the way things were when I was much has changed and we each have been through our own personal hells, but since I'm going off to college in a few short months I really feel like I should start the healing process between us. 

The only problem is that I'm not one hundred percent sure that I'm ready to completely forgive and start over. I know that I have a lot of pain and hurt from everything that I've been through, just from being in this family. As a result however, I've allowed my heart to grow extremely cold towards her, and I hold a lot of resentment against her. Although I know that the bible calls us to respect and honor our parents, I find it extremely hard to honor either one of my parents, because I've lived such a hard and hurtful life at their hands. It is the one thing that I will admit is my weakest point in my faith. I know that I need to have that respect for my parents, but I can't bring myself to get past my own hurt in order to forgive them. I know that my family needs a lot of healing, and I know that I would probably feel so much weight lifted off my heart if I do forgive her, but I just can't let go of my pain long enough to allow that healing to happen. I wish I had the ability to let hurt roll off of me like water drops on a plant, but I can't. Every time I get hurt, or someone disappoints me, my first reaction is to bottle it all up in the hopes that it would naturally diffuse in the darkness that is at the bottom of my heart. When I am hurting it seems like the best plan because it stops the pain from hurting at that moment. It just seems like the easiest least painful thing to do.

Although I know as Christians we are called to become like Christ and live our lives in such a way that shows love for the rest of the world to see, it's not the easiest task to accomplish in my house. We don't have the family time that I know other families do. But as the years have past, I've sort of given up on almost all hope of that happening in this house. We don't even enjoy the company of each other around a table when we eat our meals, everyone just goes back to what they were doing with out any sort of interaction with each other. Not that I don't try, I try everything that I can think of to try and get my family to sit around a table to enjoy a simple family meal together. With that kind of disappointment even at meal times, I know that trying to have a small amount of family bonding time would never be a thing that they would accept as something to do.Trying to pick up all the shattered pieces of my family isn't my job to do, I feel like it is something that I should at least attempt to do because Mom would never try to, or even notice that our family is that detached from itself and our own problems that each one of my family members has to work through and heal from.

With everything I've been through, and everything that I've seen, I just can't help but be amazed at how much God has influenced me to become a better person and grow stronger because of my pain, and not let it hold me back in life. I really do hope that in the coming months before I leave for college, that my family can grow closer to eachother...but I'm really tired of fighting this uphill battle. The more I try to fight to get us to be closer it seems that I just end up getting more hurt and dissappointed. There comes a time when you just have to realize that you're fighting a losing battle, and no matter how hard it might be to admit defeat, sometimes you just have to give up in order to protect yourself from getting hurt worse. I still care for my family, and i would just about do anything in the world for my brothers, but I can't care enough to make up for everyone. I already have enough to deal with as it is...I just hope that they see how much we need to be a family, before all of this is too far gone to repair.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Beauty Beyond Compare

"You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you." -Song Of Solomon 4:7

Sorry That I haven't posted anything in a few days, I've been so busy studying for my exams that I just haven't had the time to sit and write on here. But, I do hope that you like this, after my short break from writing. 

Have you ever had those days where you just feel like it is a "National Hate On Me Day?" Those days where it seems like you and Murphy are just the best of friends? I have, and actually I've had a lot of them growing up. I was picked on a lot during my elementary and middle school years. To be completely honest, it tore my self-esteem to shreds. I didn't fit in anywhere. It was very hard for me to make friends, and I wasn't the social, out going person that every one sees today. I was a completely different person before foster care, if you would have known me back then you would have never recognized me.

There were days where the attacks and bullying in school were so bad that I would come back to the house, lock myself in the bathroom and just cry. All those days when I would stand in front of our bathroom mirror and cry because I felt like I just wasn't good enough for anything. With the torment that I faced at school, and the abuse that I received at home, there was no escape for me. Eventually, if your told something and literally having it beat into you, you start to believe it. During those years, I felt truly alone. But I now know that I wasn't. I didn't know about the love of God, but looking back now I can see that he was working through my life in the most unusual ways. Even though the circumstances were awful, it served a greater purpose in my life. 

Looking back is something that I find myself doing more and more as my Senior year progresses. I find that through all my pain, and personal tragedies, I've grown to be a stronger person in my faith, and in my compassion for other people. I could have been one of those people who lets their own pain consume them and shut out the rest of the world, forever fostering the pain that lives inside of them. I remember the day as clearly as if it was yesterday way back in third grade. Sitting in class hearing the phone ring and instantly knowing that something bad had happened. Walking down to the office and seeing that lady from the state standing in the room. I knew my life was never going to be same, but I wasn't prepared for how bad things would actually get. But I knew at the moment when I walked out with that lady and I saw my older brother sitting in the van crying, Ryan was crying, and so was Wayne, I knew that I had to be strong enough for all of us. The thing that I was lacking was the love and strength of God, who carried me through all of it, and provided me with the strength to make it through when things got really bad.

I could have taken the easy way out. I could let all my pain consume me, and stop caring about the world because the world never took the time to care about me.  But I chose strength, to me there was no other option. Life isn't just going to hold my hand and wait for me to get over my pain on my own. Life doesn't wait for anyone. If I succeed in anything in life, I want it to be that I was able to help other people through their own pain, and face their own skeletons even though I'm too scared to face mine. 

I think that we all go through life's struggles for a reason. I know that the world will try everything in it's power to pull us away from God, and convince us that we're not worthy of God's love. I know that's complete rubbish. God loves us so much, he created us in HIS image. God thinks we're beauty that is incomparable to what the world defines as beautiful. I will admit that there are days when I do let my insecurities get the best of me, and I fall into the trap of believing what my insecurities are telling me. Those are the days that I feel the farthest away from God. Sometimes I just have to pause, take a breath and tell myself that God loves me, and in his eyes I am worthy, and since I am made in his image, I can take pride in knowing that I have Godly beauty. Even if the entire world is set  on making me believe that that is not true.

I would have to say, getting to know God, and having the relationship that I have with him, has been my biggest self-esteem booster that I've ever known. Knowing that he can see past my flaws, and see the beauty inside me and love me for who I am. It's one of the things that I have come to treasure so much in my faith, knowing that when I screw up, or I make a really, really, REALLY stupid choice, God will always be there to carry me through the hurt, and he will never cease loving me for who I am in him. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lift Us Up To Fall

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

These verses sends a very clear and very powerful message. It’s a message about trust; if we trust God then he will guide us to where he wants us to be. But we can’t just say “oh yeah, I trust him, he is God after all.’ You have to trust him completely, with all of your heart. There can’t be one tiny little shred of doubt that God isn’t in control in your life. The plans God makes up in heaven, we can’t understand and grasp way down here on Earth. Because God, as I’ve come to know all too well, works in very mysterious ways. Something might happen in our life that makes us want to question what exactly his plan for our life really is, turns out to be something that inspires someone else to want to walk with Christ in their live.

We just have to trust in him and know that he is in control of our lives. If we do trust in him with all of our hearts, and we live such a life so that he is reflected in everything that we do, he promises to make our lives glorified by his name. He will lead us to the places that he wants us to go, and keep us from the places that could lead us astray from him. He will take us down the right path of life, and as long as we keep trusting him and living a life that reflects him, we’ll stay on that path. 

Do you want to know something else that is amazing? He also promises to direct the people who are lost and want to follow him, but are so utterly lost in their sins that they aren’t even sure if they are worthy of his guidance. He promises guidance to everyone and anyone who asks him for it. God wants to work through us, and he wants to see us make the most of our lives though him. Not only that, but he isn’t just going to show us the general direction that we are to go to and then leave us to wander our way through. He’ll be there by our sides, making sure that when we stumble, gotten lost, or we feel like we want to give up completely, he will be there to make sure we keep staying on that path. He will fill the holes of sin that we could fall into, and he will cut down the branches of worldly possessions that try to prevent us from staying on the path of righteousness. He will do everything in his awesome and mighty power to make sure we are getting to where we need to be. 

It doesn’t matter who we are, or what walk of life we’ve been down. God loves us all. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Preacher at the little white church who has known God all your life, a single mom working three jobs who found God through the kindness of a stranger, a recovering drug addict trying to reconnect with his kids to make up the time they lost him to the drugs. Because, to God, it’s not about what you’ve done, or where you’ve been it’s about where your brokenness had led you too. It’s the path that led you right into the arms of a God who wants nothing more than to carry you. God wants to help everyone live the best life that they possibly can. The only thing he asks is for faithfulness, He wants your complete and total trust. He wants you to acknowledge him in everything that you do, and to know that he IS the one in control of everything.

Yes, there will be times when it rains, complete with the thunder and lightning of hard times, but if he lean unto God during those times, he will be there to carry us through. God only asks us to be completely faithful to him, and reflect him in the entirety of our lives, and considering all that he has done for us, we should be anxious to live our lives so that they please him.

Monday, February 28, 2011

I'll Cherish These Forever

"This is my command-Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Jeff, this one is going to be dedicated to you. This way you'll quit bugging me about it. :P In honor of the year-ish that we have gotten to know each other, I'm going to write about the adventures we've had. 

There are those people in your life, that you wonder how you lived before you met them. There are people that God put in our lives, so that we could be inspired to be the best person we can be everyday. So, Jeff here's to you.

I've met a lot of those people in my life, and I'm grateful for every second that I've been able to spend with them, and they are people that I'll never forget. 

If I could, I'd talk about all the people that have changed my life. But, I'm pretty sure you'd be here reading this for a number of hours. So, since Jeff is leaving to go start his new life with his AMAZING FiancĂ©e Melody, I'll just talk about the impact and change that he's made on my life. 

Last Summer, Ashleigh and I had many, MANY conversations on the topic of religion, because up until then, God wasn't in my life. But, Instead of telling me how screwed up I'd be without God in my life, she invited me to their Church Lock-In. It would be centered on God, but I wouldn't feel the pressure of an actual Church environment. I decided to go. I can't even begin to tell you how glad I am that I went. It's where I met Jeff, and in the beginning, I think I weirded him out. :)

We had a great time bowling, and I even managed to beat him. I don't think that he was very happy about it though. We went back to the church and we had pizza, watched a movie, played sardines, and then we had a devotional. 

When Jeff said that we were going to have a devotional, I froze. I knew nothing about the bible, and nothing about Jesus. I've never had a problem being the smart one in a class, but sitting in that pew listen to all of them talk I felt extremely out of place. I had no idea what they were talking about, and I couldn't keep the conversation straight. I became lost in this...'fog' if you will about how much I actually needed to know this stuff. It was from that point that I knew I needed Christ in my life. 

Even with everything that I went through as a kid, no one told me that there was a savior out there who wanted to take all my pain, and keep me from collapsing from the weight of everything that I had to carry. No one told me that there was a God who loved me so much that he would send his son to die on the cross, just so I could spend eternity with him up in heaven.

That lock-in changed my life. I know that God was working up there that day. I've met many great, amazing people, and they are people that I hold very near and dear to my heart. Jeff, you're one of those people. 

We've had our own set of adventures, ranging from the Scary Mold in your fridge, the hole in the wall, the pie in my face, and who could forget Rake 'n' Run? And who could possibly forget Fernando, Statewide, and CIY? Those are memories that I won't forget, and I've come to grow quite attached to you. I'm really going to miss you.

Life will move on, with or without us. We can try and fight it as hard as we can, but in the end life wins. I'm so blessed to have been able to met Jeff, and Melody and I know that I will miss them as much as they miss me, but I know that they are just starting a new chapter in their own lives. 

So, as sad as I am, I'm so thrilled that they get to start another chapter in their lives, but together as a married couple. I know that I'll see them soon enough, and they just won't disappear on me. 

God put them in my life for a reason, and getting to know Jeff, I can't help but feel blessed at the opportunity to see him begin this new chapter of his life, with an amazing person as his soon-to-be wife.
I, personally, can't wait to see what God has planned for their lives. 

So, Jeff here's to you. And all the crazy things that we've done, and to the memories that will never fade. I'll miss you greatly, but I know that you'll make an impact on the people that you meet down there, and I know you'll have plenty of adventures living this new chapter in your life. I'm really going to miss you, and thanks for all the great memories, I'll cherish them forever.